New Smyrna Beach police say safety plan worked, arrest more than 70 during spring break

Police said arrests all related to the spring break crowds

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – Police in New Smyrna Beach said Monday the largest spring break crowd they’ve seen have finally left town with dozens now facing charges. Officers used a new plan this year to control the crowds after reporting major problems from students last year.

This year, they had over 70 arrests this past week – all related to the spring break crowds – police said.

“They could be 18 years old, 19 years old, but half of those arrests were adults, half were juveniles, and about half were felonies and half were misdemeanors,” said Interim Chief Eric Feldman.

He said it wasn’t just the actual spring breakers getting placed in handcuffs.

“We caught three different drug dealers, caught a stolen car, there were two guns confiscated. That type of criminality is really what I’m after and I consider that people coming into town to prey on spring breakers,” he said.

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Taming the crowd is also one of the main objectives for Feldman’s new safety plan after chaos during spring break last year.

He said this was the second year most Central Florida school districts had the same spring break, and thousands came back to the shores of New Smyrna Beach, but were met this year by hundreds of officers brought in from all over the region.

“You see our command post down in the Flagler parking lot, you see we have cameras up, and then if you tried to circumvent that and go on the side streets or parks, the same presence was there as well,” he said.

Those cameras catching some of the issues in the crowd this year during the day, but at night, also.

Feldman said the city’s new curfew for anyone under 18 without a parent to be inside by 11 p.m. was seemingly well advertised.

“We didn’t have any pushback from kids that were here in town. Honestly, by 10:30, they were gone,” he said.

Those who live and work on Flagler Avenue believe the plan worked, too.

“Last year was terrible, our store got robbed, stormed, it was destroyed last year,” Ryan Harlowe said. “This year, nothing even touched it.”

Feldman said they will be pulling that plan out again this year, likely around Memorial Day and July Fourth where they’ve seen a big increase in recent years of the younger crowds.

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About the Author:

Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.