With spring break in full swing, Okaloosa County says arrests are slightly below last year

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

If it’s March, it means spring break along the Emerald Coast. 

Earlier this week, spring breakers could be seen up and down the beaches of Destin with their school flags planted in the sand, while others played volleyball, lounged in chairs and some even got in the water. 

The trail at Tarpon Beach in the Crystal Beach area was a hot spot Wednesday afternoon, as “hook’em horns” and a few Rebel cries could be heard from Ole Miss students. 

But with spring breakers comes some who don’t like to play by the rules. 

University students plant their flag in the sand in the Tarpon Beach area in Destin Wednesday afternoon.

Are the number of arrests up this year?

“Arrests are about on par with last year,” said Sgt. Kyle Corbitt with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. 

“We are at about 50 less today (March 15) than we were last year,” he said. 

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Corbitt said the Sheriff's Office has arrested 197 since beginning operations a week and a half ago. 

Spring break runs from March to mid-April in most areas. 

Here's a look at some of the spring breakers coming and going in the Crystal Beach area. Several were from Texas, Mississippi and Georgia.

What's the charge?

“Most arrests are for underage possession of alcohol, a few narcotics arrests, and a few possessions of fraudulent ID arrests,” Corbitt said. 

On Monday, the Sheriff’s Department Facebook page had a post concerning spring breakers. “Four 18- and 19-year-olds pulled over for a traffic stop for reckless driving and along with the alcohol you find fake IDs, marijuana, vapes and paraphernalia.” 

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The legal age to consume alcohol in Florida is 21. Florida law does not allow parents to authorize their children under the age of 21 to possess or drink alcohol when under their supervision. 

Also, possession of a fake driver’s license is a felony. 

It was a steady stream of spring breakers coming and going at the beach on Wednesday.

It is quieter than usual?

“It appears the crowds are about the same,” Corbitt said.  

“With this recent cold snap, (there's) less roadside foot traffic during the evening hours,” he added. 

The temperatures this week dipped into the 40s at night, while hitting the high 60s to low 70s during the day. 

However, Corbitt did say that some rental companies have evicted six houses thus far. The evictions are from noise complaints, property damage and being over occupancy during parties. 

Here's a look at some of the spring breakers coming and going in the Crystal Beach area. Several were from Texas, Mississippi and Georgia.

Does the sheriff's department expect to get busier?

"We do expect it to get busier, especially with high schools starting to go on spring break over the next few weeks,” Corbitt said. 

Spring break for schools in Okaloosa and Walton counties is March 20-24.  

“We are running our operation the same as we have in the past few years. We have extra deputies on ATVs on Destin and Okaloosa Island beaches, a supervisor running the operation, and extra road patrols mainly for the Crystal Beach area,” Corbitt said.