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Crowds begin to gather in South Beach for Urban Beach Weekend

Police step up patrols in anticipation of large crowds

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach police are stepping up patrols for Urban Beach Weekend, and traffic in the area is expected to be affected by the large crowds who are already out on the beach.

"We're going to have a great time (and) go to a couple of pool parties," one man told Local 10 News.

Memorial Day weekend is known to be the busiest weekend of the year in Miami Beach. An estimated 200,000 people are expected to cram Ocean Drive this year.

"(I'm here) basically just to get drunk, have fun and basically enjoy myself," Kareema Williams said.

Miami Beach police are out in full force to make sure the crowds stay under control.

"Our main goal is to keep everyone safe," Miami Beach police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said. "We're going to have officers out on what we call a DUI saturation. They're not going to be at one specific checkpoint, (but) they're going to be all throughout South Beach looking for you."

Memorial Day weekend in South Beach hasn't come without its share of problems.

In 2011, officers were involved in a deadly shooting, firing more than 100 rounds at Raymond Herrise's car after a chaotic chase down Collins Avenue.

Another shooting along Collins Avenue was reported just two days ago. Police questioned Kareem Stuart about the shooting, but he has not been charged in the case.

To avoid a mob scene like the one last month along the beach during the Floatopia event, the city is banning certain items from the beach, such as large floatation devices, coolers, tents and even loud music. 

"People forget the veterans, so salute to all the veterans who fought for this country, because if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have the privilege to be partying down here like this," one man said. 

Police said getting in and out of South Beach will be difficult over the weekend. Officers advise the public to come early.

Ocean Drive will be shut down from Fifth Street to 15th Street beginning 6 p.m. Friday.