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South Beach residents express safety concerns after 2 deadly shootings

By Peter D'Oench,


South Beach residents worry after 2 deadly shootings 02:39

MIAMI BEACH -- South Beach residents say they are worried about their safety after two deadly shootings occurred last weekend amid an influx of spring break visitors.

The city's mayor and a prominent tourism official are also urging would-be visitors and tourists to "not judge" the city based on a few weeks and last weekend's violence.

The shootings led to worldwide headlines including one in the "Daily Mail" in England that said "Spring break horror as a gunman kills one and injures another in Miami Beach while Mexico deploys the armed soldiers on Cancun Coast."

Miami Beach Spring Break chaos is giving the city a bad name 02:38

The city has also announced new restrictions and safety measures that begin Thursday and extend through Monday nights.

There will be no alcohol sales for off-premises consumption between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. and no access to city-owned parking garages from 16th Street to Government Cut from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

"Everyone is afraid to walk on the beach and everything else," said Bear Luong, who lives in South Beach. "I just avoid walking on the beach during spring break. What concerns me is people getting hurt because of the violence."

Business owner Ari Tlatelpa told CBS4's Peter D'Oench, "It's definitely very frustrating for all the residents here. This is the third year of the same thing. As a business owner, this is very frustrating and I do not want to have to pay for this."

South Beach resident Olga Kukhareva, a mother of two children, has lived on South Beach for three years after coming to this country from Russia.

"I am concerned as a resident of Miami Beach," she said. "I try to be careful wherever I go. As a mother of two kids, I realize I don't want to live here in the future in this area."

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said his city should not be judged by the recent criminal activity.

"First of all, I don't think we should be defined by a couple of weeks in March," he said. "We have almost every week of two major events going on here and what happened was pretty limited to one area and time. That said it is stunning to have these types of issues and it is not something that our city typically has or can tolerate. I think the world has to known that we are going to deal with it and we are going to find a way to end spring break in our city because it is not something that we can ensure or sustain and we don't want it. We have not wanted it for years."

Gelber has a message for residents.

"We are going to do our best to keep our streets safe and we have an enormous amount of police outside," he said. "We are doing everything we can to limit the intrusion of these spring breakers and by the way all of those serious offenders tend to be visitors and our residents are rarely involved."

Chris Rollins, the chief operating officer of the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, said the city is more than the recent negative headlines.

"There are 52 weeks in the year and two weeks do not define us," he said. "It's the 50 weeks of amazing weather and amazing sunshine that attracts all of our visitors from all over the world to have an amazing time in our city. Leadership is working on great solutions to solve problems in the city. We are an amazing city with fantastic arts and culture and family friendly atmosphere."

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