A robust debate has ensued in some circles over whether last weekend’s planned “College Beach Takeover Week” was a hoax, a joke, a social media fabrication or traditional media sensationalism.
It’s an intriguing discussion. Our conclusion is the planned event did take place, but on a much smaller level than it has in previous incarnations in other areas. It may be a stretch to say that hundreds from associated groups came as participants in the planned event, but it’s a certainty to report there were not thousands as originally expected and feared in some circles.
Last weekend was relatively calm on the crime front. While it was not peaceful by any means, there were no major incidents. There were the typical June crimes — pot distribution and possession, fights, underage drinking and DUIs. Arrests were up 27% over the same time period last year, but that can largely be attributed to the major police presence throughout town.
Law enforcement leadership deserves a lot of credit here. The Ocean City Police Department and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office did a masterful job of answering the media’s requests for information. They let it be known early and often that the event was being taken seriously and that massive manpower would be on the streets preventing and reacting. It was a smart approach to let it be known there would be a high presence of police throughout the local area, specifically in the trouble spots.
Rather than view it as the media overhyped the event and unnecessarily scared people, as was alleged by many this week, we look at the situation as akin to the stances taken with a major tropical storm. The advance preparation was necessary. The warnings were required because this event had a troubled past on at least two occasions.
We believe the police presence prevented major incidents from happening. Rather than wasting energy wondering why the event never materialized to the size it has been in the past, we prefer to give the police credit for playing a major role in that fact. Advanced stories about police initiatives as well as the obvious signs of a mobilized police force unquestionably deterred crime and likely kept the small percentage of troublemakers — there are some in every group — from causing any problems.
Kudos to the local law enforcement community for handling last weekend’s potential in masterful fashion.