College students on spring break to clot areas of South Beach

Police officers turn Ocean Drive into pedestrian-only area

By Andrew Perez - Reporter , Victor Oquendo - Anchor/Reporter , Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - A tsunami of college students taking their party to South Beach will have police officers on alert this weekend.

Authorities closed the beach early on Saturday and Friday afternoon to clean up after the tourists, who left scattered piles of trash on the sand. Police officers were enforcing new rules on the beach including a ban on inflatable devices, coolers and tents. 

Although drinking is also prohibited, there was plenty of evidence -- glass bottles and cans -- left behind showing that some started drinking early. And this is just the beginning of the challenge. Authorities expect some 135,000 tourists during the peak party season from March 3rd to April 16th. 

Police officers were doing everything in their power to prevent last year's tragedy on Ocean Drive, where witnesses said there was a brawl on Wednesday. Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez, a spokesman for the department, said there were five arrests related to the fight. 

Antoinne Decade, 20, died in a shooting during a brawl on Ocean Drive and 10th Street last year.

Some of the precautionary measures included blocking drivers from getting to Ocean Drive during the afternoon. Residential-area streets were also closed off to outside traffic. This meant the flow of cars was mostly limited to Alton Road and Washington and Collins Avenues. 

Mobile license plate readers were active on the two main entrances to South Beach: The MacArthur Causeway and the Julia Tuttle Causeway. The readers were meant to red flag stolen cars and outstanding warrants registered in law enforcement databases.

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