VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP/WAVY) — Police, officials, and business owners say they want to avoid a repeat of last year’s rowdy College Weekend event. City staffers, police and business owners met Thursday to discuss tourism-related issues.
The presentation included a clip on how WAVY News 10 covered last year’s College Weekend violence, and how the solution to stop it from happening again must include everyone’s input.
Police made nearly 150 arrests stemming from the April 2013 College Weekend event. There were several shootings, stabbings and robberies. At least eight people were injured.
Police Chief Jim Cervera says the city wants to ensure that such violence doesn’t happen again. He said he also doesn’t want the resort strip to look like a military-occupied war zone.
“We will have more officers on scene. We will be on foot identifying the criminal element versus young folks having a good time. I am not going to put officers undercover in a crowd. It won’t serve a positive purpose,” said Cervera.
The Resort Season Meeting was mostly positive, but some merchants are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach.
“I think it’s good. We need to communicate, but we just have to see what happens…to see if what police have done works,” said businessman James Johnson.
Chief Cervera is concerned about how the resort strip appears to families, and says pat downs outside will no longer be allowed on City sidewalks.
“There are no pat downs outside Peabody’s. I think it looks bad on the City when they come through and see it…so I agree with police on that,” said Brandon Ramsey with Peabody’s Nightclub.
Police said there is no known promoter this year, and police want the community to keep its eyes on social media to help alert them.
“Someone will see something, and send it to us, and then we send it to the intel unit, and they scrub it down even further.”