Panama City Officials Promise Stiffer Penalties

Recently, Panama City officials promised to impose legislation to stiffen crime penalties to hinder mischievous activity.

Panama City Beach is a popular spring break Vacation spot for FAMU students since Tallahassee doesn't have a beach. Each year, thousands of students flock to Panama City to meet students from other states.

Along with the cities growing popularity as a party location the crime rate has experienced a spike as well. A few weeks ago a young woman was gang raped on the beach by three suspects in front of hundreds of onlookers causing a national uproar. This uproar has been a catalyst to make the city a safer place to visit.

Lakeisha Anderson, a senior PreMed/Biology from Miami, FL is disappointed in the actions of the rapists, and those whom stood by and recorded the crime.

"As a woman I think it was wrong and a nasty thing for people to do," Anderson said. "The people that were standing around watching should've done something about it. They're just as bad as the ones who were raping the woman."

In addition to the rape case the arrest differential from 2014 to 2015 has tripled from 300 to 1,000. Also the amount of guns seized went from a meager 9 in 2014 to 49 in 2015.

Panama City officials have assured to create laws to deter the wrong crowd from doing the malicious behavior, or to not come at all. Some of the things being proposed are prohibiting drinking on the beach, and police actively seeking underage drinking. These sanctions could have a huge influence on next years spring break economics. City officials have acknowledged the financial hit, but are willing to sacrifice money to keep their city safe. 

Wilson Cherelus Jr. a freshman physical therapy student from Fort Lauderdale, Florida feels that the city will be impaired if these sanctions are carried out.

"Without a doubt Panama City will lose a lot of money," Cherelus said. "Businesses there depend heavily on tourism for holidays as big as spring break if that ceases, their economy will suffer."

A popular theme at this year's spring break was girls trading sexual favors for beads. Ashley Brown, a senior public relations student from Fort Lauderdale recalled her experience from her visit to Panama City.

"I saw a few young ladies allow guys to lick their breasts with whip cream for beads," Brown said. "I have been to spring break the last few years each year it gets progressively worse. Maybe these proposed repercussions are exactly what the city needs."