College Beach Weekend brings no major problems to Oceanfront

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by 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on April 28, 2014 at 12:02 AM

VIRGINIA BEACH -- The strategy to handle College Beach Weekend as if it were a Fourth of July Weekend seemed to pay off when it came to holding major problems at bay.

More than 800 police officers (the entire department) were on duty to make sure crime -- especially violent crime -- was minimal to non-existent.

“Last year we were able to stop and mingle with our friends," one college student told 13News Now, "but, now, the police are just pushing us along and telling us we have to go.”

The Virginia Beach Police Department went big with its presence at the Oceanfront after College Beach Weekend  2013 brought a number of violent episodes, including a few shootings and a stabbing.

A police helicopter flew overhead, while the department's mobile command center set up camp on the ground.

Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms made his way to the Oceanfront to see how things were going. Police Chief James Cervera joined his department in making sure things remained peaceful.

“Last year was more dangerous, this year was more safer, there was more cops everywhere," said college student C. J. Johnson.

13News Now saw officers break up a skirmish Saturday night. Late in the evening, officers closed off Atlantic and Pacific Avenues, directing traffic out of the Oceanfront.

“I think it’s going really well," offered Michelle Zeigler who was visiting from South Carolina. "I haven’t found any parties yet, but this is my first Beach Weekend, and it’s not that bad.

Beach officers wore reflective vests to make themselves more visible. Cervera told 13News Now the idea came from the Boston Police Department, which used bright vests after the bombings at the Boston Marathon in 2013.

Although no crowd estimate was available Sunday, at last check, almost every hotel room had been booked.

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