30,000 visitors on the Coast: Biloxi police on 2019 black spring break, traffic plan
Spring break brings thousands of people to Biloxi each year, and those who visited this weekend said their experience was positive.
“The vibe was amazing from when we first approached the scene,” said Markeda Bateaste, who came down from Crosby, Mississippi, with a group of friends. “Everyone was nice and friendly. It was just a great experience overall.”
Quila Bennett, who came from Kansas City, Kansas, said black spring break lived up to the hype.
“We had so much fun. Everything was amazing. This was our first time coming and we’ll most definitely be back next year,” said Bennett.
Last year, some spring breakers complained when the Biloxi Police Department instituted a new traffic plan that closed one lane of U.S. 90 in each direction and stationed more officers along the route.
But everyone interviewed by the Sun Herald in 2019 said that didn’t stop the fun.
As a first time visitor, Bennett said the city’s plan gave her a sense of security.
“The whole weekend was safe and fun,” said Bennett.
“The police presence didn’t bother me at all. I’m glad they were there to keep everything in order.”
Nickayla Diaz from Connecticut felt the same way. As she walked up and down the beach and partied at the different venues, she said she had no worries about safety.
“The police didn’t make me feel uncomfortable at all. The fact that they were there made me feel safer,” said Diaz.
She says there’s only thing she wishes was different.
“My least favorite part was traffic.”
Police estimate about 30,000 people attended black spring break this year, which is the same as last year’s estimate.
“I thought things went very well,” said Chief John Miller in a city video. “We had somewhere around 30,000, probably a little more than that but we’re being conservative.”
Police said overall safety and traffic flow were maintained in the event areas.
“On Saturday, we did have to implement the one lane traffic plan when movement came to a stand-still so that emergency traffic could respond accordingly,” Maj. Christopher De Back said in a press release. “After about an hour of the initial implementation, traffic was flowing, slowly but still flowing, again.”
Biloxi police say there were:
- 30,000 people and 18,350 vehicles
582 spring break-related calls to police
71 people arrested, including 20 felony arrests
58 car accidents, including 1 rollover crash
209 traffic citations
61 vehicles towed
The Sun Herald compared those numbers to 2018 and found:
- About 30,000 attended in both 2018 and 2019
- 84 fewer spring break-related calls in 2019
- 29 more arrests in 2019
- 70 less traffic citations in 2019
- One less vehicle towed in 2019
“Overall it was a good year, and the crowd appeared to have a good time,” said De Back.