Spring Break Arrests Down Since March

By  | 

BAY COUNTY -- All you have to do is drive down Front Beach Road or Thomas Drive to realize spring break is about over. This Sunday marks the official end.
The local jail bookings tell a similar story.

The second week of March was the biggest week of the spring break season this year. You could tell by the number of college students on the beaches and the number of them in jail.

One month ago, Saturday March 15, Bay County Sheriff's deputies made 23 spring break related arrests. Just this past Saturday there were only seven.

Bay Co. Sheriff's Office Major Tommy Ford said, "Obviously those first three weekends in March and even the first week in April is wide open, but we are seeing a reduction in the number of arrests."

It was a different story for Panama City Beach police. On March 15 they made 50 spring break related arrests.

But they made 126 last Saturday. Police Chief Drew Whitman says a Saturday concert played a big role in the higher arrest rate but he believes that's the last of it.

Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman said, "I think our numbers are going to dwindle down. Saturday night will be the end of spring break because of Easter Sunday. A lot of the families are leaving Easter Sunday."

While the spring break season may be ending, beefed-up enforcement will last a bit longer.

"We're still on extended shifts. I haven't changed anything. We still have the sheriff's mobile booking up on Thomas drive to help us out. We don't wanna cut back too early because if something happens we want to have the manpower and the forces out there to handle any situation that is thrown at us,” said Whitman.

Despite all the negative spring break publicity, law enforcement officials say their combined efforts are the best they've ever been.