Oceanfront business owners worried about Beach Weekend 2016

Posted at 5:55 PM, Apr 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-19 19:48:11-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Another spring at the oceanfront means tourists, traffic, and hard-to-forget memories of violence on College Beach Weekend.

"I've seen people get hit with crutches, fist fights in front of my store, one guy walking around stabbed at one point. It gets really crazy down here," store manager, Xyliana Robles told NewsChannel 3.

Three years ago, there were shootings, stabbings, and large crowds that filled the oceanfront.

The past two years weren't nearly as unsafe.

Robin Kellam from Candy Kitchen credits Virginia Beach Police, who had more officers in crowds and on foot, and hosted a series of planning meetings before the coming Beach Weekends.

"They had police on horses, walking, motorcycles. It was a lot better than it's ever been," Kellam said.

But this year, what's the plan to combat the crowds and possible violence?

We don't know.

NewsChannel 3 has asked Beach Police several times about what they're doing to keep businesses and tourists safe.

We never got answers. In addition, this year, there weren't any Beach Week planning meetings.

"I went to all of them last year. I was hoping they would do it this year, but we are just hoping they're keeping the same plans and going forward," Kellam told NewsChannel 3.

On social media accounts, there are several posts about planned events.

Weeks ago, a photo popped up online that had two men posing with guns promoting Beach Week.

Photos like that are what worries Kellam.

"All we can do is hope and pray. That's what I say. But, if I see anything I don't like, I'm locking the doors and going home," she said.

Beach Police have agreed to meet with media Wednesday morning to answer questions about Beach Week concerns.