Wild tourists out in force in South Beach again
Saturday afternoon calmer than chaotic Friday night
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel J. Oates knows that policing a partying crowd of tourists requires a fine balance between being hospitable and enforcing the law.
Trained "Goodwill Ambassadors" in neon green T-shirts were out enforce. Ahead of the busy Spring Break season, he had the department's spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez prepare a video with some suggestions and reminders for tourists.
"It's a beautiful beach day. Don't let a criminal mess it up for you. Before you head out into the water, make sure you secure your valuables," Rodriguez said in the video. "Rent one of these lock boxes available at the many concession stands around the beach."
Rodriguez said party goers needed to pay attention to their drinks, so no one sneaks a drug in them. He also warned that drinking in public was prohibited in Miami Beach. But some social media users posting self-incriminating content on their profiles had other things in mind.
One wanted to "nap on South Beach wit a joint." A man posted a selfie with a bottle of Padron. Another posted a "spring breaking it" picture Saturday with a woman, as both were holding drinks on the beach. A man warned on Instagram, "s---t go crazy in Miami." The beach at Lummus Park was crowded by midday Saturday.
On Saturday afternoon, there were intermittent closures on Ocean Drive and traffic delays on Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue. Eastbound traffic on MacArthur Causeway and Venetian Way was slow. The average speed reported about 2 p.m. was 15 miles per hour.
On Friday night, police officers dealt with a massive wave of tourists breaking the rules. There were also a series of fights on the streets.
A large wild crowd challenged police officers on Ocean Drive and Lummus Park. Social media users posted photos and videos of indecent exposure, women fighting, men drinking on the beach and on the street, drivers blasting their music.
Police officers stood in front of an angry woman, as dozens pulled out their cell phones to film the interaction. On videos, social media users posted, officers remained calm.
Oates also released a statement on Twitter Friday. It included the words "welcome," "great time," and "enjoy." He also had requests: "Be responsible!" He also said, "We ask that you please respect the scene. Remember, no alcohol, no Styrofoam and no glass containers on the beach.
"Please trash your trash and recycle your recyclables. Drive safely and treat each other with respect."
Some Miami Beach residents were outraged at the amount of garbage that the tourists left behind. Seven people were arrested, Rodriguez said Saturday, adding that details about the arrests would be released on Monday.
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