Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission offers suggestions after Beach Weekend 2014

Posted at 6:04 PM, May 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-21 18:04:50-04

Virginia Beach, Va. (WTKR) – The Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission has released a report on observations from College Beach Weekend last month.

The HRC had citizen observers on the streets of the Oceanfront from 16th to 25th Streets between April 25 and 27th during the College Beach Weekend.

The same weekend in 2013 erupted in violence with several shooting, fights, robberies and led many to criticize Virginia Beach for being unprepared.

“A lot of loud music. Loud noise. People being disturbing. It was really rough,” Linda Crafton of Richmond told NewsChannel 3’s Todd Corillo.

Crafton lives in Richmond and was visiting the Oceanfront during the Beach Weekend in 2013.

As a result of 2013, the HRC says they were invited by the Virginia Beach Police Department to observe Beach Weekend 2014.

Overall, the compiled observations applaud the city for being prepared this year, but also state that the Oceanfront wasn’t very welcoming to visitors and guests.

According to the report, “the observers reported that the police presence was appropriate for the number of people at the Oceanfront,” and that “it was great to see young officers and veteran officers patrolling the streets.”

It also commended Beach Police for traffic control, noting “although traffic was heavy, it was evidence that the VBPD Traffic Operations had excellent traffic control plans to keep the vehicles moving.”

Though the observers also felt that the “constant overflight of the VBPD Helicopter was unsettling.”

One large complaint from the observers dealt with the lack of restaurants and shops open and very few entertainment options available to visitors.

“The lack of food availability gave the perception that the restaurant owners didn’t want to host the visitors during the evening – but on the other hand the hotels took reservations which equaled a lot of lodging revenues from thousands of visitors during their stay. The observers believe this issue of distasteful hospitality needs to be addressed,” the report stated.

The observers also outlined several recommendations and suggestions based on their experiences.

Those include a consideration to either open Atlantic Avenue to pedestrians as a walkway or allow the bus lanes to be redefined as walkways to help with overcrowded sidewalks.

They also recommend increasing the number of public restrooms and scheduling “appropriate events/activities to prevent walking in the streets.”

You can read the entire report of observations from the HRC team by clicking here.