Authorities across Florida are making preparations for college students who travel to Florida for spring break.
Students emigrated to Florida during the 2021-2022 pandemic to take advantage of the COVID-19 policies and cheap flights. These factors created a storm that created chaos and made it difficult for law enforcement officers in coastal towns .
Authorities will be ready to deal with potentially disruptive young adults in 2023.
After last year’s chaotic spring break, New Smryna Beach residents and workers have always been concerned about safety.
“Twenty-years I’ve been here to spring break and that was the only time that I ever saw any serious issues,” Alice Muskey of Treats on the Beach, , told Fox 35.
The chaos of last year forced city commissioners into a scramble to implement a temporary curfew. Authorities carried it over to this year.
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“We can simply tell the children it’s time for them to go home. Eric Feldman, interim chief of police, stated that we don’t want people to gather in large groups as last year.
Residents and business owners can expect an increase in police presence this spring break.
Feldman announced Tuesday that a command center will be stationed at Flagler’s beach lot equipped with cameras to monitor the area. It will be available to nearby business owners to provide information and report any concerns.
Officers from other departments in Volusia County will be parked at the beach as well as at each Flagler intersection.
People who live and work in the area appreciate these improvements, as they hope to avoid another year like last year.
Terry Stephens, co-owner of Seahorse Inn, shared his thoughts with Fox 35. “What they didn’t do last year is they didn’t get ahead because they didn’t know it’s gonna happen.” “They are trying to get ahead, and I think that is a good thing.”
Officials in Miami’s South Beach warned that there would be more traffic and street closures. They also advised visitors not to attend special events or violate the law.
“We will let everyone know that we welcome them, and that we expect them to behave. We’ll have police on hand to ensure that all are safe. Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber made the announcement.
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Melissa Berthier, spokesperson for the city, stated that portions of Ocean Drive will not be accessible to all vehicles.
Officials announced that there was an increase in police presence and that they would be implementing a number of spring break rules, including a flat rate of $20 for city parking garages within the entertainment district, nightly fire inspections every weekend, and double lifeguard staffing in South Beach.
Similar to Okaloosa, Walton county sheriffs offices have preemptively declared spring break laws in advance of busy March.
“It’s no questions asked,” said Sgt. In a press release, Kyle Corbitt from the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said. “If you are caught with alcohol underage or violating any other law, you will be charged.”
In a public service announcement, Panama City Beach officials reminded the public Wednesday that spring break laws had been in effect since January and would be strictly enforced.
J.R Talamantez, Chief of Police for Panama City Beach said that “our goal is to create a safe environment for residents and visitors.” You can have fun without engaging in illegal activities. Respect the law and be responsible. We are grateful for everyone’s cooperation.
The Panama City spring break laws include a ban on alcohol sales between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. The consumption of alcohol on the beach is also prohibited during the month of March.
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The following are other city ordinances:
- It is strictly forbidden to loiter in parking lots or along the shoulder of the road.
- It is against the law to consume alcohol in parking lots or in vehicles.
- It is strictly forbidden to ride on vehicles’ exteriors, including on the edges of window sills or standing up through the sunroof.
- It is against the law to play loud music that disturbs the peace. It is against the law to hear music more than 25 feet from another person.
- It is against the law to climb, jump from, or throw things from balconies.
- Sand beaches are not permitted to use metal shovels. It is also prohibited to dig holes that are more than 2 feet deep. For safety reasons, all holes should be filled properly.
Officials from Panama City shared the news that all beaches will be under police surveillance. Students who are arrested for violating spring break laws could spend up to 60 days in jail, as well as a $500 fine.
WRIC reported that in 2022, 161 people were arrested by Panama City officials during a spring break weekend. They also seized 75 guns as a result of their clashes.
“What we witnessed this weekend was absolutely unacceptable. J.R. Talamantez Chief of Police confirmed that many businesses had closed on Friday due to the disruption caused by the large crowds.
He said, “These are the types of people that we face.” “Throwing beer bottles at officers. Straight down the road. These shootings were accompanied by blue lights all along the road. These individuals’ blatant disregard of public safety will not be tolerated.”
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Mark Sheldon, Panama City Mayor, said that the crime was not the work of spring breakers but rather criminals who entered the crowds.
Fox News’ Peter Aitken contributed this report.