Miami Beach is implementing additional safety measures ahead of the Labor Day weekend and in light of recent deadly violence in the city.
Starting Friday at 7 p.m., a sobriety checkpoint will be located at 12th Street and Alton Road. It will last until 2 a.m. on Saturday.
Mayor Dan Gelber also announced that effective immediately, there will be an average of 40 police officers added to patrol the streets.
Additionally, 10 additional Miami-Dade County officers will supplement Miami Beach police patrols every weekend through the end of the year. There will also be increased park ranger patrols around Ocean Drive, additional homeless outreach, and enhanced sanitation and parking enforcement.
Gelber said the new plan would “create the highest level of regular police presence this area has ever seen.”
This comes in the wake of the killing of tourist Dustin Wakefield, who was shot and killed while eating with his family at a Miami Beach restaurant.
Twenty-two year-old Tamarius Davis told investigators he shot the 21-year-old Wakefield last month because he “was high on mushrooms, which made him feel empowered,” according to an arrest report.
“The many years of troubling incidents in this district can no longer be tolerated,” City Manager Alina Hudak said in a memo on Friday.
The city enacted a strict 8 p.m. curfew in March after unruly spring break crowds gathered in the streets by the thousands, erupting into fights, destroying restaurant property and refusing to wear masks. Over 1,000 were arrested and many were from out of town, police said.
"It is no longer sufficient to treat what has historically been defined as “high impact periods” as anomalies when every weekend brings significant crowds and challenges," Hudak stated.
Gelber said over half of the nearly 1,600 arrest in 2021 came from the entertainment district, where speeding, fights and gun violence have become commonplace. The city seized more than 500 guns this year and now have 870 surveillance cameras on the lookout.
“Every few days, I call a police officer who has been injured in the line of duty,” the mayor said. “Few cities face these challenges or ask as much of police.”
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