MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The City of Miami Beach has declared an emergency as police and elected officials react to large crowds and lawlessness during Spring Break.
Pepper balls were used to control crowds of people on South Beach Saturday night as law enforcement attempted to enforce a newly imposed curfew.
Several roads were also closed in Miami Beach as officials hoped to stem the rise in crime.
The Entertainment District curfew went into effect at 8 p.m. but despite the announcement and even law enforcement telling people about it, many stuck around as if the rules did not apply to them.
Pepper balls were fired into the crowds of hundreds of Spring Break partygoers on South Beach after multiple attempts by police to disburse them.
Hours after the curfew time passed, large crowds were still moving around Ocean Drive with seemingly no intention of going anywhere.
“At night there is no question that it became a little out of control or a lot out of control,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
The curfew, along with business and road closures, was announced just four hours earlier by city leaders.
“Quite frankly, I am concerned that the behavior is getting more for us to be able to handle,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements.
City leaders said the restrictions are all in an effort to prevent crowds, stop crime and violence that the city said some Spring Breakers have brought to Miami Beach.
“The bottom line is that the city has to protect is visitors, its residents, Police and everybody in it,” said Gelber.
That curfew now being enforced in the Entertainment District includes Ocean Drive, Collins and Washington Avenues, and expands north from 5th Street to 16th Street.
The restrictions are in place for the next 72 hours.
City leaders plan to meet Sunday to discuss how long they want to keep them in place.