South Beach woman calls out officials on disruptive crowds in residential areas after curfew

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A Miami Beach resident said loud and disruptive gatherings in residential areas after an 8 p.m. curfew went into effect have her fearing for her safety in her own neighborhood, and she wants city leaders to do something about it.

Speaking with 7News on Thursday, longtime South Beach resident Tania Dean said she’s fearful police won’t be able to control the crowds that have flocked to the tourist destination during spring break.

“I was so scared, I didn’t even want to see it,” said Dean.

Last weekend, city officials enforced an 8 p.m. curfew in the entertainment district as a measure to curb the overwhelming crowds.

“We have so many police officers here. We’ll arrest you; we don’t want that behavior,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “Come here to have a responsible, fun vacation. Don’t come here to be a jerk.”

7News cameras captured Miami Beach Police officers clearing a section of the entertainment district, Thursday night.

“Please return to your hotel rooms or wherever you’re staying,” an officer in a police SUV told passers-by through a loudspeaker.

Visitors who spoke with 7News said they were not happy about it.

“I’m mad as hell … it’s South Beach, Miami, spring break,” said a woman. “Why do we have to go in the house?”

The streets were mostly cleared out by 8:30 p.m., but last weekend, hundreds of revelers who were ordered out migrated west and held widely documented impromptu street parties in residential areas.

Dean said revelers caused more dangerous situations after the curfew went into effect.

“They jumped on cars, they climbed on buildings. A lot of property was destroyed, and everybody was scared,” said Dean.

Dean said this is why she is calling out city leaders for what she described as a lack of preparation and asking them to carry out a better plan.

“I am not on a witch hunt. I am not calling for anybody’s job,” she said. “I want to work with them, and this is my reaching out to work with them.”

Miami Beach Police Officer Ernesto Rodriguez addressed crowd control issues and how the department will help keep the peace.

“We’ll have additional officers in that residential area to prevent that type of spillage that we did see into those residential communities,” he said. “We’re going to do our best to control and limit, to ensure the party stays within the entertainment district and our residential areas remain exactly that: residential areas.”

Police are enforcing the 8 p.m. curfew from Thursday to Sunday until at least April 11. From 10 p.m. until 6 a.m, eastbound traffic on the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways will be limited to area residents, hotel guests, delivery drivers and employees heading into work. During these hours, the Venetian Causeway will only be open to Miami Beach residents.

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