Spring break is still a month out, but with a surge of crime and chaos that marred last year’s celebrations, city officials in Miami Beach, Florida are cracking down early this year, implementing some of their toughest safety measures yet.
At a meeting on Wednesday, the Miami Beach City Commission announced it would impose new rules, including the power to mandate curfews if needed and close beaches.
“We’re shutting the door on spring break once and for all,” Commissioner Alex Fernandez said at the meeting. “Lawlessness will not be tolerated in Miami Beach.”
The peak spring break season, which occurs over two weekends in mid-March, will see increased police presence, with officers working 12-hour shifts, as well as vigorous enforcement of open container and noise laws, and newly implemented curfews. Commissioners also voted to allow the city to suspend sidewalk cafes on famed Ocean Drive, if judged necessary, as well as shut down parking garages and parking lots. Towing fees will double to $516 throughout the month.
Additionally, there will be license plate readers installed on the MacArthur Causeway and Julia Tuttle Causeway, and DUI checkpoints that will reduce traffic to one lane.
People who are judged to have violated the new measures could face fines, arrest and even jail time.
“We need to correct these issues, we need to do it now and we’re going to be very proactive,” Miami Beach Mayor Steven Meiner said this week. “And if somebody thinks we’re doing too much, well, that means we’re probably doing it right.”
Meiner said that ultimately, they’re looking for a reduction in crowds, which he said will “be better for our businesses because we won’t have the tarnishing of our brand that happens when we have the incidents during March.”
In recent years, the city has been forced to declare states of emergency during spring break. There were two fatal shootings and 488 arrests in 2023, according to Miami Beach police, with multiple nightly brawls and party-goers frequently clashing with police.
Earlier this week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said spring break “should not be impeding the functioning of businesses in the area; it should not be impacting the quality of life of our residents.”
Some of the new spring break measures will remain in effect throughout the month of March.