Miami Beach residents sound off on spring break issues

In meeting with county's Community Relations Board, city residents push for changes on South Beach.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Miami Beach residents had a chance to voice their frustration Tuesday to the Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board, which held a “listening session” on spring break tensions in the city.

Resident and business owner Scott Shrey, one of about 20 people raising concerns at the meeting, said something needs to change on Ocean Drive.

“It’s not about the group of people. It’s not about the crowd. It’s about the conduct,” Shrey said. “And if the conduct is destructive and it’s abusive and it’s against the law this invitation that we have for them must be taken back.”

Some blame bad operators in the city’s entertainment district.

Others offered suggestions to police, including license plate readers at every city entrance and digitally scanning IDs to prevent underage drinking.

“We’re actually going to be putting together a community board to interface with this [Miami-Dade Community Relations] Board and the politicians to make positive change,” Shrey said.

A replay of Tuesday’s meeting, held at the Miami Beach Convention Center, can be seen below:

Miami-Dade County's Community Relations Board is holding a “listening session” with Miami Beach residents regarding spring break tension in the city.

Posted by WPLG Local 10 on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Meanwhile, a longtime Miami Beach resident whose car was damaged when partiers climbed on top of it received free repairs from friendly businesses Tuesday.

“I thought nobody was going to come help me,” Didar Rashid said. “The city right away responded and tried to help me.”

Police struggled to control rowdy crowds of visitors in the early days of the spring break season, leading to weekend curfews and causeway closures.

On Friday, city residents held a “Take Back the City” protest to voice frustration with how spring break has disrupted their lives.

Scenes of police using pepper balls to break up gatherings of people disrupting traffic and jumping on cars made national headlines earlier this month.

Some Black community leaders have questioned if race is playing a role in the way police and city leaders have dealt with the crowds.

Officers and local leaders have said that they are policing bad behavior regardless of race or ethnicity.

The city has, however, tweaked its strategy after struggling in its initial efforts to curb the lawbreaking.

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, meanwhile, posted a 12-point plan for the Miami Beach entertainment district on Tuesday. He’s asking commissioners for a consensus on the plan, and if not, wants voters to put some of them on the November ballot by a citizen initiative.

About the Authors:

Saira Anwer joined the Local 10 News team in July 2018. Saira is two-time Emmy-nominated reporter and comes to South Florida from Madison, Wisconsin, where she was working as a reporter and anchor.