Two deadly shootings and unruly crowds which police have struggled to control during spring break prompted officials in the Florida city of Miami Beach to impose a curfew late on Sunday – and there could be a similar one next weekend.
City officials said in a news release that they implemented a curfew from 11.59pm Sunday until 6am Monday, and another is likely to be put in place on Thursday through next Monday, 27 March. The curfew mainly affected South Beach, spring breakers’ most popular party spot.
The release said the two separate shootings on Friday and early Sunday that left two people dead and “excessively large and unruly crowds” led to the decision. The city commission is scheduled to meet on Monday to discuss additional restrictions for the upcoming weekend.
Miami Beach’s mayor, Dan Gelber, said in a video message posted on Sunday that the crowds and presence of numerous guns had “created a peril that cannot go unchecked” despite massive police presence and many city-sponsored activities meant to keep people busy.
“We don’t ask for spring break in our city. We don’t want spring break in our city. It’s too rowdy, it’s too much disorder and it’s too difficult to police,” Gelber said.
The latest shooting happened at about 3.30am on Sunday on Ocean Drive in South Beach, according to local police. One person was killed, and officers chased down a suspect on foot, police said on Twitter.
In the Friday night shooting, one person was killed and another seriously injured, sending crowds scrambling in fear from restaurants and clubs into the streets as gunshots rang out.
Under the curfew, people must leave businesses before midnight, although hotels can operate later only in service to their guests. The city release said restaurants can stay open only for delivery and the curfew will not apply to residents, people going to and from work, emergency services and hotel guests. Some roads will be closed off and arriving hotel guests may have to show proof of their reservations.
It is relatively rare for excessive partying to cause officials in a US city to implement such a curfew. But last year, Miami Beach imposed a midnight curfew after two shootings, also on Ocean Drive.
The year before that, there were about 1,000 arrests and dozens of guns confiscated during a rowdy spring break that led Miami Beach officials to take steps aimed at calming the situation.
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