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This Year's Ultra Music Festival Was Safest Ever In Miami, Security Director Says

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) –  Twenty-seven people were arrested during Ultra Music F0estival's 3-day span, according to Miami Police.

Security Director Ray Martinez says the 20th Ultra Music Festival was the safest ever.

This year's festival at Bayfront Park drew an estimated 55,000 people a day. This was overwhelming for some who live in buildings on or near Biscayne Boulevard.

"Even though I live here, I am one of those guys who when Ultra Fest comes I leave," said neighbor Fernando Correa.

As the rising sun brought images of festival clean-up, neighbors like Correa and Mindi Norkin - a mother of two twins woke up to discover this was the safest Ultra Fest ever.

"It makes me feel good from a safety standpoint. My husband works in the music business. He books artists at festivals like this one. This makes me feel good because we can keep them around longer," said Norkin.

There were some arrests for trying to sell fake tickets and for assaults. In one case, an attendee was charged with hitting a law enforcement officer.

Police even checked out an Instagram post showing a man with a high-powered rifle naming Ultra Fest but they determined there was no threat and made no arrest.

"We were very happy it was not a credible threat. It was a foolish post," said Martinez.

Some were busted for narcotics but there were no serious problems.

"There were no major incidents and we would like to thank the community and the public for being our eyes and ears during incidents and reporting all suspicious activity," said Officer Kiara Delva with Miami Police.

In the past, Ultra was marred by fence jumpers during a three year stretch from 2012 through 2014. A security guard was nearly killed in a stampede. There were hundreds of arrests, drug overdoses, some fatal until Ultra spent more money on and stepped up security.

"We worked very early putting together a plan with the Miami Police Department and we brought in the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force and Homeland Security and the U.S. Coast Guard and the F.A.A. and really round tabled it and looked at everything and made adjustments," said Martinez.

It is something that put neighbors at ease.

"It brings peace among people living here and walking around. You don't have to be watching for a bad environment and bad people and crazy people," said Correa.

Miami Fire Rescue says there were 40 to 50 Emergency Service response calls a day. Some were injured dancing but most were dehydrated.

The open venue at Bayfront Park is always a challenge for security. One reminder was the shooting in Las Vegas in October 2017 that left 58 people dead and more than 850 wounded or injured.

As for the those watching the festivals, Martinez says the live stream of Ultra Fest had 20 million views worldwide. The next festival is set for March 29, 2019.

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