College Beach Weekend 2013 lead to nearly 150 arrests over the weekend as close to 40,000 people descended on the Virginia Beach oceanfront. Officials in Virginia Beach state that they were not prepared for the crowds or the crime.
Authorities confirm they received 325 calls to 911 reporting fighting, drug use, property destruction, shootings, stabbings, robberies, and general disorderly conduct. There were at least eight confirmed reports of injury.
As reported by the Washington Post, the event was planned as a celebration for students at several local universities. Flyers and social media networks spread the word, offering discounts on hotels and local businesses.
Virginia Beach police officers heard rumors, but had no idea how big the party was going to be. Eighty-eight officers were initially planned for the event, but more were called in as the crowds grew.
Local business owners have complained that the droves of people were destroying property and shoplifting. Mona Liza Solis, who works at a local 7-Eleven, reports that at one point the store was filled with over 100 people. Employees tried to limit them number of customers, but they pushed their way inside.
As reported by WAVY.com, College Beach Weekend 2013 organizers deny claims that the party led to criminal activity. They have released a statement concerning the weekend:
“We the organizers of ‘Beach Weekend’ disavow any connection to these events and repudiate the perpetrators … there were no fights, shootings, or stabbings at any of our sponsored events or venues. The reports have been misleading and inaccurate.”
Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms plans to take steps to avoid a similar problem next year. He hopes to gain cooperation from local hotels and rental properties, to have a better estimate of how many people to expect for future events.
He applauds the Virginia Beach police officers for handling the situation as well as possible, and responding to situations in a timely fashion.
College Beach Weekend 2013 was likely a lot of fun for the nearly 40,000 guests, but it turned into a big headache for local business owners and law enforcement.