Police presence not an issue for many

Locals, tourists all said they didn't mind the increased police presence

Published On: May 26 2012 10:38:36 PM EDT   Updated On: May 27 2012 03:59:11 PM EDT
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -

Despite controversy and complaints, locals and tourists alike on Miami Beach said they didn't mind the increased police presence over Memorial Day weekend. In fact, they preferred it.

Many in town for Urban Beach Weekend festivities said street and foot traffic were not nearly as bad this year as in the past.

"The traffic isn't as busy as it used to be usually," Levi Hutchinson said. "You couldn't really walk through and as much gaps as there is now."

Police standing side-by-side flanked the entrance of Wet Willies, watching the public's every move Saturday night. Volunteers snaked through the crowd with large signs detailing what people can and cannot do. A prisoner transport van with lights flashing sent a message loud and clear—break the law and you're out of here.

Last year's deadly shooting over Memorial Day weekend was on the minds of many celebrating on the beach this year. Crystal Clark of Liberty City was there when police opened fire on the driver of an SUV, killing him and hurting several others.

"I heard the shots and everybody just started running," Clark said.

The increased police patrols may have caused some controversy, but Clark said she's happy with the changes.

"We feel safer now," she said. "It's been good, it's been great."

Saturday and Sunday nights from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., Collins Avenue will only run northbound. Washington Avenue will only run south. There will not be anymore DUI checkpoints, however officers said they will still be scanning license plate numbers.