76 spring break-related arrests already made

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PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - According to Captain David Baldwin with the Bay County Sheriff's Office, deputies have made seven spring break-related arrests so far; six of them for drinking on the sandy beaches.

Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman says his officers have made 69 arrests to date. Thirty of those were also for drinking on the beach.

Both law enforcement agencies say those numbers are about average or a little less than last year. They also say the numbers are the result of spring break laws doing what they were intended to do: make Panama City Beach a safer place.

The area has had a spring break reputation for years.

"We've known it was a big party place for spring break so that's kinda what brought us down here," spring breaker Carley Truckey said.

"I was down here last spring break. It was a lot more poppin' than this year," spring breaker Santeyne Thornton said.

However, recently-enacted spring break laws have changed the ways of P.C.B.

"I think the ordinances have played a huge part on being able to decrease the crime, decrease the amount of activity that was causing us the issues many years ago. So, definitely the ordinances are doing what they were intended to do," Captain Baldwin said.

According to Captain Baldwin, the laws are making the area a more family-friendly vacation destination.

"I hear that the families are having a good time and they are glad we are going to a more positive, family-oriented beach and they would spend their money here now, when they wouldn't a few years ago," Captain Baldwin said.

"It does seem to be a lot more family-friendly this year. It's not too crowded right now because there's not a lot of the college spring breakers," Local mom Jessica Woodruff said.

"I definitely see a lot of families on the beach chillin', playing in the sand," Thornton said.

"It's nice that it's more family-oriented, but for spring break we were expecting more," spring breaker Peyton Marce said.

The spring break laws are being enforced until the end of March.