We heard today from a very senior Miami Beach official that the city has come up with some interesting ways to combat the hooliganism and general disorder that is an inevitable part of what is unofficially know has "Urban Beach Week"/"Hip Hop Weekend" in Miami Beach. The weekend and city have been plagued by many of the same problems that events like Atlanta's defunct Freaknik and New York City's Puerto Rican Day Parade have suffered in the past. Those include public intoxication, illegal weapons, sexual assault, and drive-by shootings. Quite obviously, it is a small minority of the party goers who are engaged in this behavior, since, if the hundreds of thousands in attendance all behaved that way, then it would be utter mayhem.
As usual, a few bad apples spoil it for everyone.
Well, after examining the data compiled over the last few years, Miami Beach has gotten smart. It turns out that almost 80% of the arrests are of people who live within driving distance of Miami Beach. Tourists who have flown in and bought hotel rooms are not the stupid thugs who cause the problems. They're also unlikely to have packed handguns for the trip, we'd guess.
So, with the focus on people who are driving in to the Beach, they've come up with some novel solutions for Memorial Day Weekend, including:
- DUI checkpoints on the eastbound (incoming) side of MacArthur Causeway (I-395).
- License plate scanners to determine if visitors are driving stolen or unregistered cars.
- Looped traffic patterns that discourage "cruising."
Sounds like a pretty creative way to get things under control. Let's see how it goes. We're assuming that the goal this year is for no one to get killed. It's a good goal.
A lot of the Miami Beach residents we know leave town for the weekend. If you are sticking around, please be forewarned that the traffic will be extra hellacious. Hopefully it's worth it, and no one gets hurt this year.
Please don't interpret any of this as an indictment of the event or rap culture or anything like that. We love rap. We love hip hop culture. And we love black people more than Jerry Maguire!
With that, we'll leave you with our favorite new song, recently released by a man many love to hate, but whom we love, Kanye West -