Urban Beach Weekend turned out relatively quietly after the city spent $1.9 million for an extensive police weekend security plan. Police Chief Raymond Martinez, business manager Cihat Cello and Chicago tourist Brittany Middleton give their thoughts.
Miami Beach Police officials say there have been just as many arrests at Urban Beach Weekend this years as last, but less people have called 911 for police assistance.
As of noon on Monday, 321 arrests had been made for the extended weekend, compared with 330 last year, Miami Beach Police spokesman Sgt. Bobby Hernandez said.
The recent number includes 86 arrests Sunday night. Hernandez said about 80 percent of the arrests have been for misdemeanors, and said no shootings, stabbings, assaults or aggravated batteries had been reported.
Hernandez said there was a significant drop in calls for service in 2012 compared with last year. So far there had been 2,062 calls to 911 in 2012, compared with 2,664 in 2011.
"That's a big difference," Hernandez said.
Miami Beach stationed 550 officers on nearly every corner over the weekend, after 2011's Urban Beach Weekend was marred by gunfire and out of control crowds.
Several preventative measures were also put in place, including DUI checkpoints, license plate readers and more police watch towers.
Police said they checked 26,000 auto tags and issued 310 citations as a result of those checks.
"It’s a great thing when the plan comes together. I’m very happy, very pleased with how the weekend’s turned out," Police Chief Raymond Martinez said.
Residents and visitors said the barricades and restrictions certainly made a difference – but local businesses were not so pleased.
"The weekend for all the business owners, it was very slow. People, they were scared," said Cihat Cello, who manages The Shop.
He attributed the drop in customers to too much security, and what happened last year.
Martinez said it cost the city about $1.9 million for the overtime and weekend security plan. Despite such criticism about going too far, he said he believes police struck the proper balance between safety and fun.
"The city did a lot with outreach, with trying to get the message of respect the scene. Very simply, laying out the rules of what we expect over here. I think that went a long way," he said. "Our whole goal of the plan was just really managing the flow of traffic and managing the flow of people in our city."
Tourist Brittany Middleton from Chicago said the party was fun, but certainly toned down from what she saw before or thought would happen here.
"It was OK. I mean, the police do have a lot of stuff barricaded. It’s a lot different this year," she said. "You can't drink on the streets and stuff like that, but it’s OK."