After the, um, interesting shootout during last year’s Memorial Day weekend, Miami Beach Police are bracing themselves for late May with a new "zero tolerance policy".
The department is enacting various new measures to manage traffic and crowds, including erecting 4 surveillance towers with video equipment on Ocean Drive.
“What we’re trying to control is just the volume [of people.] We reach a breaking point that we just can’t handle,’’ Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez told the Miami Herald.
During last year’s festivities -- also incongruously known as "Urban Beach Weekend" -- 7 people suffered injuries and one person was killed during two shooting incidents, NBC Miami reports. One involved police opening fire on a car on Collins Avenue, striking 4 passersby and leading to claims that witnesses were harassed and arrested.
In an effort to prevent trouble and control the flow of traffic, the following road closures and check points will be set up from Friday, May 25 at 7 a.m. through Monday, May 28 at 7 p.m.:
- Ocean Drive will be closed to traffic, with some sporadic access points throughout. Residents with decals will be allowed to enter.
- Collins Avenue will only be open to northbound traffic. There will be no parking (including valet) between 5th and 15th Streets as Collins will be used as a pedestrian walkway.
- Washington Avenue will only be open to southbound traffic after 7 p.m.
- A DUI checkpoint will on the eastbound lanes of the MacArthur Causeway from Friday at 8 p.m. to Saturday at 6 a.m.
- Officers will be stationed in pairs along 5th Street, Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, Washington Avenue, Dade Boulevard, and northern intersections. There will also be roadblocks set up at various intersections.
- Based on the honor system, only Miami Beach and Miami residents will be able to use the Venetian Causeway.
MBPD will be using technology to enforce the law over the holiday weekend, City spokesperson Nannette Rodriguez told HuffPost Miami, including the 4 watch towers with video surveillance.
"These watch towers will help foresee any pockets of potential problems before they happen," she said. "The video cameras will help with any potential enforcement."
Police will also be using license tag readers for the first time over all major causeways, checking for expired registration, stolen vehicles and wanted vehicles.
"We expect [Memorial Day] to be very busy," Rodriguez told HuffPost Miami. "Tourism has been up so far on Miami Beach, and we expect Memorial Day to be no less crowded as it was last year."
(Flickr photo by Scott Davidson.)
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