Miami Beach police have seized at least 102 firearms so far this spring break season, officials say, as the city reportedly will announce an extension of a state of emergency Tuesday in hopes of cracking down on the unruly crowds.
Interim City Manager Raul Aguila, in a letter sent this week to Miami Beach’s mayor and City Commission, said there were 1,050 arrests between Feb. 3 and March 21 in addition to the gun seizures.
Of those arrests, 278 involved public consumption of drugs, 182 involved obstruction and resisting arrest, and 21 were taken into custody for reckless driving, Aguila added in the letter, which was obtained by Fox News.
He also said 542 of those arrested live outside of Florida, while 157 identified themselves as homeless residents of Miami.
The figures are emerging as Miami Beach is expected to prolong a state of emergency on Tuesday.
Melissa Berthier, a spokesperson for the city, told USA Today that the extension will authorize a curfew from Thursday night through early Monday that is eligible to go into effect weekly through April 13.
“We definitely want people to come and have fun,” Miami Beach Commissioner Ricky Arriola said Monday, according to the Associated Press. “It’s a nightlife city. We want people of all races, genders, sexual orientation. But we can’t tolerate people thinking they can come here and act out a scene from ‘Fast and the Furious,’ speeding down the streets and shooting guns in the air.”
Some tourists are angry about the curfew, which they say has put a damper on long-sought vacations for which they paid good money. Meanwhile, some officials say they should have enacted more stringent measures sooner – as was done in New Orleans prior to Mardi Gras last month – instead of reacting in the middle of the chaos.
But Arriola and other commissioners are arguing that the city may need an entirely different approach to give itself a new image.
They note that over the past few spring break seasons, Miami Beach has been steadily upping the ante with new rules and regulations, such as banning scooter rentals after 7 p.m., restricting alcohol sales after 8 p.m. and cracking down on loud music – to no avail.
“Every year we come up with new restrictions and they have no impact, so at what point are we going to try something new?” asked Arriola, who suggested hosting more family-oriented and business-friendly events.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.