Life

Spring Break 2018 Much Safer

April 23, 2018
The Valley Morning Star


Shane Wilson and his wife ditch their house on the Island every year during Spring Break.

They go out of town to relax and have fun away from spring breakers.

“It has been chaotic in the past,” Shane said during his address to the City Council recently.

But that is not what he had to say about Spring Break this year.

“Spring Break was much safer this year than I think it ever has been.”

He said when he and his wife returned home at the end of Texas week they were surprised to find the Island as clean as it was when they left.

Shane ended his statements about Spring Break applauding police and the city departments for working as hard as they did to make it safer for everyone on the Island this year.

“Every Spring Break is different and every year we look to see how we can prepare for the next year,” Police Chief Randy Smith said. “The city was well prepared for this year’s Spring Break.”

That’s somewhat opposite of what appeared to be a rough 2017 Spring Break.

Incidents in 2017 led some residents to call for an end to Spring Break.

But this year apparently was different.

Island police have released preliminary numbers of arrests, incidents and calls made to the department during Spring Break, which ran from March 9 to March 19.

“The number of calls for service was down — possibly due to the increase in officers on the streets,” Mayor Dennis Stahl said. “We had significantly more officers on duty this year.”

The officers on the streets were likely seeing issues before they were called in.

STILL PROBLEMS

One of the many arrests made by authorities during Spring Break this year was of a woman walking down Padre Boulevard carrying a ziplock bag full of marijuana.

She was spotted by police and arrested immediately.

“We had FBI, DEA, DPS, Texas Rangers, so many agencies were on the Island to help us and our efforts,” said Susan Guthrie, SPI city manager. “And I’m so very proud of our police and fire departments.”

Clayton’s Beach Bar owner Clayton Brashear hosted some of the largest parties on the Island every day last month.

SUPER SECURITY

“What I saw this year was a lot of security,” Brashear said. “We were heavy on security, and I believe that detoured anybody thinking they were going to do something wrong on South Padre Island.”

He said the level of security was high — everyone saw police units coming off the causeway.

“I think that really helped us,” Brashear said.

One of the most important numbers that dropped from last year were deaths during the Spring Break.

Last year there were three deaths and this year none.

“I have been here 30 years and this is the first time a death was not reported,” said Paul Munarriz, SPI mayor pro-tem. “That was amazing.”

The number of people in the jail was up very slightly — not significantly.

The offical numbers is expected to be released next month.

“After all the revenues, expenses, and debriefs have been completed, we plan to present a complete transparent report to our citizens,” Stahl said. “We will begin work in April to debrief and start planning for improvements next year.

“Overall, we were pleased with most aspects of Spring Break,” Stahl said. “It appears many establishments had a better year than last.”

Café Karma store owner William Everett said this was his first Spring Break as a business owner and didn’t know what to expect.

But for the most part he was pleased with the spring breakers.

“This year felt much less chaotic than last,” Everett said. “More police on the roads, more sirens, more arrests. I don’t know if that’s statistically correct, but that was my perception.”

garcia@valleystar.com

South Padre Island police preliminary data comparison Spring Break 2018 and last year

2018 numbers

3/9 to 3/19

• Calls for service 2,237

• Jail 499

• Accidents 120

• Incidents 621

2017 numbers

3/10 to 3/20

• Calls for service 2,384

• Jail 479

• Accidents 156

• Incidents 588

Participating agencies

FBI

DEA

DPS

Texas Rangers

Number of law enforcement

2018/ 190

2017/ no data

2016/ 117

By RAUL GARCIA Staff Writer


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