Florida spring break partiers see Miami mayhem while Fort Lauderdale avoids chaos
Spring break parties shut down Miami Beach with mayhem and violence, but the good times rolled on about an hour up the coast in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Bikini-clad co-eds, who flocked to coastal vacation hotspots in the Sunshine State, spent hours on sunny beaches, soaked in the nightlife and enjoyed a week-long break from their studies.
Fort Lauderdale police told Fox News Digital in an emailed statement, “There were no major incidents related to the 2023 Spring Break season,” minus two “notable” arrests for a random assault on a disabled man and a fight with a security staff member at a bar.
It was a stark contrast to the chaos in Miami Beach, where two people died, a third was wounded and several were injured in stampedes after gunshots rang out twice over the weekend, and unruly crowds were seen going wild and jumping on occupied cars, prompting a citywide state of emergency.
Between Feb. 27 and March 19, there were at least 322 arrests, including at least 165 for violent felonies and drug-related crimes, and 70 guns were seized, according to the city’s state of emergency declaration.
That’s a 27% increase in felony arrests over the same time period last year and 200% increase in homicides, according to the city.
On Sunday, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said numerous people visiting the area brought guns and “created a peril that cannot go unchecked.”
A midnight curfew for Miami’s South Beach went into effect on March 19 and will run through March 27, along with additional safety measures and a strict crackdown on alcohol, which was announced by the city manager on Thursday.
“In response to the illegal and unruly behavior exhibited by these large crowds during March 2023, and in order to provide for the health and safety of persons and property, the city deployed hundreds of law enforcement officers,” according to Miami Beach’s state of emergency declaration.
Law enforcement officers from several jurisdictions have been working up to 14-hour shifts six days a week, the document notes.
“Despite unprecedented police presence, for two consecutive nights, Ocean Drive has been the scene of deadly shootings. So, tonight, Sunday, March 19, we will be implementing a midnight curfew for South Beach as part of our emergency powers,” Miami Beach Mayor Daniel Gelber said in a statement.
“In addition to a midnight curfew, the sale or distribution of alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption will be prohibited in the curfew area after 6 p.m.”
In Fort Lauderdale, there was a heavy police presence on the beaches during the first weekend of spring break.
Drug-sniffing dogs roamed the sand with their handlers and cops patrolled the beaches on four-wheelers. There was a noticeable police presence outside the nightclubs and bars.
Alcohol laws were strictly enforced and beverages were confiscated.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis told CBS News that the beaches are mostly populated with college kids and he’s “pleased” with spring break 2023.
“We don’t allow drinking on the beach, unless you’re being served by a hotel,” Trantalis told CBS. “The bars are open to a certain time, they’re not open as late as other cities are. We try to curb the excitement a little bit.”