Fourth of July Crime Remains Low

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PANAMA CITY BEACH-- Fourth of July in Panama City Beach means lots of traffic and big crowds.

You might think more people would mean more crime, but that doesn't seem to be the case this holiday.

Months of law enforcement preparation seem to be paying off.

You don't normally see an unmarked vehicle driving on the sand, but this Fourth of July weekend, they Bay County Sheriff's Office has all hands on deck.

The BCSO has tripled its patrol. It's just one of many added measures to keep people safe this weekend.

"We're handling 600 to 700 calls a week just on the beach," Lieutenant David Baldwin said. "We've been planning the fourth since spring break."

The holiday ran pretty smoothly, according to BCSO officials. They say that's largely due to this weekend's family dynamic. That means more officers on patrol looking out for residents and tourists.

"I have not seen anything crazy. Like I said, it's just bumper-to-bumper traffic," Trinh Gill, who's visiting from Georgia, said. "You know, people in a hurry to get here and there, but other than that I haven't seen none of the craziness.

Sheriff's Deputies are working closely with Panama City Beach Police to monitor the beach front and traffic.

"They know our operation plan for the holiday. We know their operational plan. We've planed for major incidences," Lt. Baldwin said.

Law enforcement and beach goers can agree on one thing - it's more crowded.

"It's been pretty empty and today was the fullest I've ever seen it," Callaway resident Danielle McCluskey said. "It's pretty awesome to see all the families come out and have a great time. It's nice to share the beach with everyone.

Lieutenant Baldwin wants beach goers to have fun but stay safe, and always clean up after themselves.

He also says traffic violations and drunken or disorderly conduct arrests were most common today.

The BCSO will continue extra patrols through the holiday weekend.