New Smyrna Beach police adding new safety measures ahead of spring break
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. - Safety in New Smyrna Beach has been top of mind for those who live and work there after last year's chaotic spring break, and police are hoping this time around to be a step ahead of the massive crowds.
"Twenty years I've been here for spring break, and that was the first time that I've ever seen any serious issues," Alice Muskey, owner of Treats on the Beach, said.
Cell phone video, newly obtained by FOX 35 News, shows what Flagler Avenue looked like during spring break last year, with teens jumping on cars.
The crowds caught the typically-quiet beach town off guard.
"Crowds of kids just moving, hordes of them just moving," Muskey recalls.
The chaos forced city commissioners to put into effect a temporary curfew, which became permanent year-round earlier this week.
"We can just tell the kids it's time to go home. We don't want you to congregate in large groups like we saw last year," interim police chief Eric Feldman said.
In addition to the 11 p.m. curfew for teens 17 and younger, this spring break, residents and business owners can expect a stronger police presence.
Feldman announced Tuesday a command post will be parked at the beach lot on Flagler, equipped with cameras to keep an eye on the shore and down the avenue. Nearby business owners will have a direct line to it to report any concerns.
There will also be officers from different departments across Volusia County parked at the beach and at every intersection on Flagler.
Hoping to avoid a repeat of last year, those who work and live in the area are thankful for these much-needed improvements.
"What they didn't do last year was they didn't get ahead of things because they didn't know it's gonna happen," Seahorse Inn co-owner Terry Stephens said. "They're trying to get ahead of it, and I think that's a good thing."