Mayor – NBC 6 South Florida

Mayor – NBC 6 South Florida

Nearly 400 arrests have been made in Miami Beach in less than three weeks amid enhanced safety measures to crack down on spring break crime and keep COVID-19 from spreading.

The 397 arrests, made from Feb. 3 to 21, include 129 felonies, 145 misdemeanors, according to figures released by Mayor Dan Gelber Friday.

“That’s a lot for any city especially one our size,” Gelber said. “Unfortunately, our city has become a magnet for people from all parts of the state and beyond. Too many people looking to act out.”

There have also been 2,400 traffic stops, 193 arrests for public consumption of alcohol or drugs, and 23 firearms seized in that period, Gelber said.

Miami Beach initiated some measures to deal with the “high impact period” of spring break, from February through April 12. They include enforcing a midnight curfew, increased police presence and use of license plate readers.

Gelber said about 90% of the arrests are of people from outside Miami Beach, including about 50% who are not from Florida.

“Dirt cheap flights from anywhere, discounted rooms make it easy,” Gelber said. “The fact that their hometowns are too cold or not as open as Florida has made us the destination of choice.”

Gelber said the city has also been distributing free masks but said he’s worried people are coming here “believing that we don’t care about the virus, and that we are up for anything.”

“I have tried to let people know in no uncertain terms what to expect if they come here with that goal. To let them know that they should stay home or find another destination,” he said.

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