Beachgoers in South Haven could be fined for stepping on the pier
Most of us who live in the Kalamazoo area and the entire west side of the state enjoy visiting Lake Michigan. Some of the popular locations for those in our area are Van Buren State Park, Grand Haven State Park, Silver Beach, and South Haven North and South Beaches, to name a few. As the weather warms up, Michigan residents can’t wait to get back to the beach with their feet in the sand, the sun shining and the water on their bodies.
South Haven’s North Beach has been the most popular beach for a while now, mainly because there’s tons of space, the concession stand, and best of all, they have the pier. Many visitors enjoy strolling the pier and taking photos of the beautiful lake, snapping photos of themselves and friends by the lighthouse, and of course watching all the different boats pass through the channel. This year, things may be different for beachgoers.
Over the past few years, South Haven Police have seen an increase in staff, which also leads to waste and sometimes trouble. They have seen violence on and around the beach increase, as well as crime. Some of this is due to out-of-town/out-state visitors on vacation and some are more regular attendees who live nearby. They also saw numerous accidents occur on the pier, ranging from beatings to drownings.
South Haven is known for its spectacular fireworks display during the 4th of July holiday, but that has also been canceled in recent years due to Covid of course, but also the year before the pandemic due to high rates of violence and of crime at past shows. Recently a man shot a woman on the pier as well as some visitors who had fallen and drowned due to the current and banging their heads against rocks under the pier.
To combat the recent violence and horrific accidents, South Haven police have temporarily banned visitors from going to the pier. It’s not a ban that is in effect all the time, but only when the weather is bad, because that’s when most accidents happen. They want to keep people away from the pier when the currents are strong or the wind is strong.
There is also an increased police presence on the beach and in the surrounding neighborhood to hopefully bring the crime rate down to a reasonable rate while still allowing sunbathers to enjoy their time. They also seek to deter anyone who feels the need to commit a crime or step out onto the pier as the fine is HEAVY. Getting caught on the pier when you shouldn’t be could cost you over $1,000! And if you’re not careful, they could pile up and you could end up in a huge money pit.
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