Miami Beach Police were out in full force Thursday night as the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day Weekend, gets started. From DUI checkpoints to command posts and street closures, MBPD said they’re ready for the annual event.
“No other weekend compares to Memorial Day,” said Bobby Hernandez of Miami Beach Police. “Our calls for service…one year we made 10 percent of our annual arrests.”
The Memorial Day weekend, also known as Urban Beach Week, brings tens of thousands to Miami Beach. Some businesses do very if they choose to keep their doors open throughout the weekend.
“I’m Italian and everybody tells me it’s going to be crazy,” said Laura Dipaolo, owner of Sfizio restaurant. “But I don’t know. So we decided to be open and we’ll see.”
Still, not everyone on the beach is looking forward to the weekend.
Nestor Delfino, owner of an Argentinian restaurant named La Parrilla Liberty, has already posted signs at the eatery informing customers they’ll be closed.
“It’s very bad. It’s very bad,” Delfino said. “All our customers are not going to the restaurant.”
Much of the focus over the weekend will be on Miami Beach Police as they keep the peace among the tens of thousands of people coming to the beach.
"They're everywhere," said tourist Mercy Williams. "They are on patrol. So the're doing their jobs."
Close to 600 police officers will be out over the weekend. In addition, camera set up along the entertainment district will also aid security efforts.
“If we get a call on a fight, we can look, zoom in, pick that camera out, find out what we have,” said Hernandez. “And we don’t have to deploy resources in that direction if they’re not needed.”
When NBC 6 turned on Collins Avenue Thursday evening, it took less than a minute before the team saw a white vehicle pulled over for a routine traffic stop that ended with drugs being found in the car.
Road closings and detours will be in place for most of the weekend. Starting Friday at 7 a.m., Ocean Drive will be closed to vehicles. At night from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., between 5th Street and 16th Street, Collins Avenue traffic will be diverted one-way northbound. Washington Avenue will also be one-way southbound.
“We’re gonna have a DUI checkpoint Friday night and Friday night only,” Hernandez said. “That’s going to be on the MacArthur Causeway coming to the beach, so expect traffic delays starting at 7 p.m. tomorrow night.”
Click here for more on the road closings and alternate routes.