PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Florida Panhandle authorities say gun and drug arrests during spring break dropped significantly compared with the years before drinking on the beach was banned.
Panama City Beach Mayor Mike Thomas told The News Herald (http://bit.ly/2pjz2Ek ) that spring break visitors weren't involved in five shootings investigated in March and April.
According to police and Bay County Sheriff's Office data, the number of drug arrests and guns confiscated this year was about half what it was in 2015. Authorities made 176 beach alcohol arrests under an ordinance first enforced in 2016.
Police Chief Drew Whitman told the newspaper (http://bit.ly/2qP3x6L ) that smaller crowds allowed officers to respond to more investigations, traffic stops and other calls for service.
Some business owners have complained the beach drinking ban has chased away customers and resulted in lower hotel room rates.