Urban Beach Weekend is off to a good and quiet start this year. So far, police say arrests are down compared to last year; and so is the number of service calls. Both arrests and calls are down by nearly half and they hope to keep it that way.
The first of up to 350,000 people expected to swarm Miami Beach for the Memorial holiday and Urban Beach weekend arrived Friday. While visitors may just be starting to arrive, police have been planning for this weekend for a year.
For the first time, Miami Beach Police are unleashing a brand new mobile command center. The center is strategically positioned at 5th and Ocean and police have eyes and ears everywhere.
"No other weekend compares to Memorial Day weekend," MBPD Sgt. Bobby Hernandez said.
The most visible police preps started at the beginning of the week. Barricades were put in place and new traffic routes went into effect. Cops have also been out in full force on bikes, golf carts, and motorcycles most of this week and will stay that way throughout the weekend.
"They’ve been out here patrolling the streets. They got it down. They know what they’re doing so far," visitor Ebonese Walker said.
On day 1, Miami Beach Police reported 27 arrests compared with 55 last year. On day 2, the numbers rose slightly with police reporting 56 total arrests compared to 86 last year. The offenses have included battery, DUI, and drugs.
Team 6 cameras were rolling Thursday night as one of the drug busts started as a simple traffic stop on Ocean Drive.
The suspect was cited but not arrested as police said they’ve scratched their zero tolerance policy.
"We think it’s a combination of a better understanding of those who are coming to Miami Beach and a little better policing on our part,” Sgt. Hernandez said. “We’re being a little more tolerant. We don’t have that 100 percent zero tolerance mentality. Unless they give us a hard time and not comply with the officer."