South Beach appears to be coming apart at the seams this month. Sure, spring break is nuts every year in Miami Beach, but 2017 was supposed to be different: Police have instituted liquor bans on the beach and even rolled out
But several videos have already gone viral this month of rowdy behavior, including a woman twerking on a police ATV and another twerking on a car zooming down the MacArthur Causeway. Earlier this week, Sherbrooke Hotel owner Mitch Novick caught a white BMW smashing into multiple cars and then plowing over a city utility pole before hightailing it away from Ocean Drive. (Novick says the sounds of screeching tires and smashing in his video footage were added after the fact, but the speaking voices in the clip were captured live.)
In response to the video, Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates announced he's beefing up patrols near the corner of Ninth Street and Ocean Drive.
"We are making progress on the hit-and-run investigation from Saturday," Oates said in a statement. "We have seized the rental car in question and hope to identify the driver soon."
In the clip, a dark-colored Mercedes-Benz SUV pulls up behind a white convertible BMW as a few pedestrians mill next to the car. Suddenly, the BMW backs up and taps the SUV. After a brief verbal altercation, the BMW accelerates forward, right into a city-owned utility pole. The pole crashes to the ground.
At this, the SUV peels off. The BMW
According to a Miami Beach Police report, the man driving the white BMW then ditched the car around the 800 block of Ocean Court, jumped into a black car, and got away. The cops then seized the abandoned BMW.
The level of insanity in the Ocean Drive area appears to be increasing by the week, from the twerking videos to a clip that caught a group of late-night Beach visitors beating the crap out of an Uber driver.
Novick wrote online that he's convinced the city's zoning code, which allows Ocean Drive clubs to blast thumping, bass-heavy music into the wee hours of the morning, creates an atmosphere where crime can flourish. It remains to be seen if that's an idea backed by
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"As Miami Beach’s tourist economy continues to be irreparably damaged, our commission remains foolish and ignorant in making Ocean Drive safe," Novick wrote when he posted the video on Facebook. "In September, commissioners wasted two million public dollars on police and there has been no discernible improvement in public safety. In fact, we’ve had a murder, multiple stabbings and endless attacks on residents and visitors to this once thriving community."
But Chief Oates argues that despite the near-constant onslaught of debauchery caught on tape this year, Miami Beach has actually had a calm, safe, and normal spring break.
"Despite this unfortunate event, we have generally experienced a calm spring break so far," Oates says. "We have had thousands of visitors from around the world enjoying Miami Beach and Ocean Drive... As always, we appreciate and rely on our residents and businesses to be our eyes and ears, as our officers cannot be everywhere at all times.”