MIAMI (CBSMiami) – One of the biggest parties of the year on Miami Beach — Urban Beach Week — wraps up Memorial Day.
In years, past 350-thousand people have packed the beach over the holiday weekend. Whether or not that number is smaller or larger this year all depends on who you ask.
“It’s quite slow, quite disappointing. We prepared for the mass and we didn’t get it,” said Betty Winstel.
Winstel is the manager at Jalapeño’s Mexican Kitchen at 5th Street and Ocean Drive. It’s feet away from where Miami Beach Police set up their mobile command unit to keep holiday revelers in line. She thinks the some of the city’s efforts to clean up the annual event may be hurting business.
“I hope that next year things are done differently and the City of Miami Beach does something to attract more business, more tourists and even the locals staying in the island,” said Winstel.
But not everyone agrees with Winstel that this year the party crowd is down this year.
“It gets crazy this year. It’s more crazy than last year,” said local Katherine Omando .
Police have increased security measures in recent years following a deadly police involved shooting in 2011. Cops say license plate readers and DUI checkpoints have helped cut down on crime.
“Everything is going great so far. It’s indicative in our arrest numbers,” said Miami Beach police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez.
Day 3 totals show an decrease in the number of arrests. This year there have been 26 compare to 48 last year. The number of calls for service are down, but barely, to 510 – there were 520 last year.
Citations, on the other hand are up. So far there have been 437 issued this year, compared to 365 last year.
“Clear communication is the number one thing. I think everyone knows if you’re going to come to Miami Beach this weekend, you’re here to have a good time,” said Rodriguez.
Winstel added that hopefully, those in town for the final day, will spend some money for the local businesses’ sake.
“Miami Beach is a legend, so we need to get the beach back up like it once was,” said Winstel.
Ocean Drive will remain closed to vehicular traffic from 5th Street to 15th Street until Tuesday morning. Washington and Collins Avenues have already re-opened to traffic.