Excessive alcohol consumption on Siesta Key beach was one of the factors that led to the 2012 death of Donna Chen, which prompted a proposal to ban beach drinking.
But this spring break, a notoriously heavy-drinking holiday for students, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office rolled out a patrol initiative aimed at deterring crime throughout March and April. The increase in uniformed law enforcement led to a greater ratio of criminal charges compared to reported crimes — including roughly 250 alcohol-related charges, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release.
That’s nearly triple the amount of alcohol-related charges than in 2011.
Deputies charged more than 184 suspects with underage possession of alcohol, while the next most common charge was for narcotics.
"More people in one place increases the potential for incidents to occur," said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. "By committing additional resources to one of the top destinations for citizens and visitors alike, we clearly establish that misconduct will not be tolerated."