After a wild spring break last year, Miami Beach has a new public service campaign that warns college students, “Enjoy your vacation. Don’t leave on probation!”
It’s part of the city’s $33,000 messaging campaign that some might interpret as an effort to discourage young people from visiting the urban island city during spring break.
In a letter to Mayor Dan Gelber and commissioners, Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales detailed the campaign that will roll out through a mix of local, national and global media outlets and social media channels.
“This new plan is to reach out in advance to as many college students as possible who might be considering Miami Beach as their Spring Break destination to advise them that the MBPD will be rigorously enforcing traffic and quality-of-life laws and ordinances during the spring break period,” Morales wrote in the letter.
The plan includes ads with links to a new website MBspringbreak.com to educate visitors on what not to do during spring break. Among the activities that are illegal in Miami Beach: drinking in public, smoking pot, driving a scooter in and out of traffic or sidewalks and riding on top of cars. The latter has become a common sight on social media during spring break.
“If you engage in any of the above activities, you will be arrested,” the website warns.
The city manager’s memo also details how there will be more overtime available to boost the number of Miami Beach police officers on the street when college students are in town. Spring break typically peaks in mid-March, but can also spill into April.
The campaign is the city’s latest effort in preparing for the rush of college-age visitors. In late 2018, Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates sent letters to universities to share with their fraternities and sororities about heightened enforcement.
“If you come to Miami Beach for Spring Break in 2019, you must obey our laws. If you do not, you will be arrested,” he wrote in the letter.
The measures are the result of the “challenges of the 2018 spring break,” according to Morales’ memo. Officers had to temporarily shut down eastbound traffic to the MacArthur Causeway one Saturday night after crowds grew too large in South Beach. Police also began pulling over drivers who were blasting their stereos too loud.
In one strategy last year, Miami Beach officers worked as deejays in a lifeguard stand in order to keep an eye out for public drunkenness and loud music.