CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla (WFLA) - With St. Patrick's Day right around the corner and spring break in full swing, many may be heading to Clearwater Beach ready to party.
But if drinking alcohol is part of your plan, be careful where and when you consume. Clearwater police officers say a majority of the arrests they make this time of year are directly related to alcohol, or fueled by it.
Lt. Anthony Monte coordinates the patrol operations on the beach. He says even if you don't see a uniformed patrol officer out and about, don't assume you're not being monitored.
"We have surveillance cameras out here, monitoring what's going on out on the beach," said Monte. "Those are just ways we are trying to keep an eye on everything that's going on out here."
On the beach, alcohol is a no no. You can drink in establishments, but don't make the mistake of carrying that alcoholic beverage outside.
There is a city ordinance that prohibits open containers on the beach and public rights of way as well. Make no mistake, officers are looking for those who slip up.
Three years ago, a video of women fighting on the beach went viral. Monte and other officers believe limiting where adult beverages are consumed is limiting the problems they are dealing with.
Tanya Curler tends to agree. She and her husband are vendors on Pier 60, selling unique rock lanterns. She has a warning for visitors that may not be aware about the strict law.
"If you're gonna drink, don't bring it here to Clearwater Beach," said Curler, who feels tourists who see beach goers being carted away in handcuffs sends a sour message about the area.
"Families, if they're witnessing this happening, first of all, you don't want your children around because you're not even sure what these people are being arrested for."
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