Spring break crowds remain diminished, subdued in Miami Beach. Take a look
The crowds on South Beach and Ocean Drive were subdued and much smaller Friday and Saturday than they were last weekend, when two deadly shootings prompted city officials to impose a midnight curfew.
READ MORE HERE: ‘This is really next level.’ Heavy police presence subdues the spring break party
Police patrolled the area before sundown, as a city-sponsored fitness event wrapped up on the beach, people played volleyball in Lummus Park and tourists walked on the Ocean Drive sidewalks — which were each separated from cars on the road by metal barricades.
Several visitors told the Miami Herald they felt safe despite the shootings, which police have said they believe were both isolated and targeted.
“You can’t predict what’s going to happen — spring break or not,” said Jayden James, 20, of Clearwater.
A group of visitors from Houston said spring break in Miami Beach seems to get “crazier every year,” though they agreed this weekend seemed calmer.
Elle, 24, said she didn’t think the huge police presence — including dozens of Miami Beach officers, Miami-Dade police and state troopers — could prevent any isolated incidents of violence.
“What are they going to do? Search everyone that comes onto the beach?” she said. “This is a tourist place. I feel like there’s no way you can shut down Miami Beach.”
Miami Beach officials have implemented programming to try to change the tenor of spring break — which some have argued should be better tailored to the young, Black visitors who frequent the area in March.
Elle said she doesn’t come to South Beach for clubs or events.
Rather, she said, she goes to the beach, walks around and hangs out on Ocean Drive.
“When I come here, I don’t even think of the clubs,” she said. “I just come here — the strip.”
Here is what the scene in South Beach looked like Saturday:
Safety precautions along the beach
For a second straight night, dozens of officers were stationed with their vehicle lights flashing along Fifth Street near Meridian Avenue, including numerous state troopers sent to Miami Beach at the direction of Gov. Ron DeSantis. Miami Beach police and FHP have set up a DUI checkpoint at the intersection.
READ MORE: Dozens of FHP troopers deployed to Miami Beach to stem spring break violence, officials say
Officers waved cars through a coned-off section of the street, snapping photographs of license plates and waving flashlights at car windows before pulling some drivers aside to ask questions before letting them pass.
It wasn’t immediately clear how police were determining who to stop or which cars to search.
Around 8 p.m., state troopers removed and handcuffed the driver of a Rolls Royce while several other passengers sat in the car.
Hundreds of officers from different Miami-Dade County law enforcement agencies are patrolling the beaches this weekend. An emergency order is still in effect that bans all alcohol sales after 6 p.m. from liquor stores and other locations that sell drinks for off-premise consumption south of 23rd Street through Sunday.