MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach residents are calling for action after a recent string of violent incidents, including fights, stabbings and shootings in South Beach.
“The brand that anything goes is just as virulent as the virus,” resident Ken Koppel said.
The violent incidents came just weeks before the expected start of spring break.
“Last night was popping. Yeah, there was people everywhere,” Paige Scharschmidt, who is visiting from Ohio, said.
Scharschmidt and her significant other, Danny Dakdouk, said they’ve noticed that things start to get rowdy, especially after sundown, which is a big change from their home state.
“Much different, especially being from Cleveland,” Dakdouk said.
“Yeah, we have a lot of restrictions there, so it’s a little different here,” Scharschmidt added.
Officials say most of the violence seems to be caused by out-of-towners who are coming here to try and get away from COVID-related restrictions.
“The vast majority of these incidents are visitor on visitor,” Miami Beach Commissioner Mark Samuelian said.
The issue led officials to hold a virtual town hall Monday night, where residents urged the police chief to crack down on the crime.
“Police need enough man power to not look the other way,” Koppel said.
“I wish I had the number of officers that would be needed to put an officer on every corner,” Police Chief Richard Clements said.
Miami Beach police say they’ve already taken action, using their art deco cultural district special task force.
They also called in reinforcements from Miami-Dade to make more than 100 arrests over the weekend.
Clements promised frustrated residents that his officers will be out in force through spring break.
“The problem that we have is that we’re not policing the same people,” he said.