MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Labor Day weekend on South Beach means more glitz, more glam, and this year, more police.
Revelers who spoke to 7News on Saturday said they were thrilled to visit the tourist destination.
“We are going to a lot of clubs, so we’re super excited,” said a reveler Beca Gabaldon who is visiting from New Mexico.
However, residents and visitors also found an increase in police presence patrolling the streets.
Earlier this week, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber discussed the safety measures that the city is taking.
“Effective immediately, an average of nearly 40 officers have been reassigned to supplement existing patrols on South Beach,” he said.
The city is also receiving help from Miami-Dade. The county has provided 10 additional Miami-Dade Police officers every single weekend until the end of the year.
Officials said the new initiative aims to combat the rash of recent rough and rowdy behavior, specifically on Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive, from Fifth to 15th streets.
“This year alone, we have arrested 3,154 people on South Beach, and 1,593 of these arrestees, more than half, were in just the tiny entertainment district,” said Gelber.
Most recently, Dustin Wakefield, a young father visiting from out of town, was sitting at a restaurant on Ocean Drive with his wife and 1-year-old son when, police said, a man randomly shot him.
After the shooting, the gunman was seen dancing while onlookers screamed. He was then handcuffed in a nearby alley where he confessed to the killing.
The suspect was later identified as 22-year-old Tamarius Blair Davis Jr.
Labor Day weekend visitors said the added police presence is a step in the right direction.
“It’s more safe, you know what Im saying? Like, everybody is at peace. I feel like everybody is just enjoying themselves and comfortable,” said reveler Edgar Castro, who is visiting from New York. “Everybody’s doing their thing, and they’re not bothering us, we’re not bothering them.”
In addition to the heightened police presence in the entertainment district, there has also been an increase in surveilllance in order to help police catch anyone engaging in bad behavior.
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