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Virginia Beach college weekend surprised police: 148 arrested

The docket for arraignments in Virginia Beach after a wild and wooly couple of days this past weekend may still be fairly full. An estimated 30,000 to 40,000 young people swarmed to the Oceanfront for what was billed “College Beach Weekend” by promoters. Authorities report that 148 of them ended up being arrested.

Most of the suspects booked were between the ages of 18 and 25. News reports said most of the charges were for misdemeanors and traffic violations. But police also recorded some arrests for public drunkenness and other liquor law violations. Possession of alcohol by minors charges were likely among them.

Police admitted this week that they were taken by surprise by the wave of people who showed up. Officials say they were prepared for what would have been a typical holiday weekend at the beach, but that more people showed up than they were ready for. They had to call in extra officers to deal with the crowd. Before the weekend was over there were three shootings and three stabbings recorded, along with general unruliness.

Virginia Beach’s police chief acknowledged this week that their security efforts would have been greatly enhanced if they could have talked with the promoters of the weekend. But he said they have gone under cover. Efforts by police and news reporters to contact those who posted promotions through fliers and social media outlets hit dead ends this week.

For now, police and other city officials say they’re focusing on trying to get things back to normal ahead of the coming big summer season. The chief has said that he’s still hoping to make contact with those who were responsible for last weekend, though, to determine if a similar event is likely to happen next year.

Source: The Virginia-Pilot, “Va. Beach event promoters still a mystery to police,” Carolyn Shapiro and Gabriella Souza, May 1, 2013