Article Courtesy of The
By Brian McBride
Published July 24, 2020
Osceola County Sheriff’s Office officials said they will
be cracking down on what has been dubbed, “COVID parties,” because it has
drawn shootings and other criminal elements.
Vacation rental homes
in mostly the western section of the county have been the
locations for the house parties that have been rented out
since the pandemic started. They are located in gated
communities where people from 50 to 300 people flock to,
playing loud music, parking their cars in yards and dance in
the street. There have been a number of noise complaints.
“These groups like to hang out, rent these homes and do
things they wouldn’t want to do at their homes of their
neighborhoods,” said Maj. Jacob Ruiz, spokesman for the
The parties are dubbed: “COVID parties.”
“That’s their own terminology from what we heard through the
grapevine, through social media,” Ruiz said. “It’s nothing
that we have labeled.”
But the problems they cause have
increased from just loud noise.
An Osceola County Sheriff’s Office helicopter takes
video of a “COVID party.
“We had a murder in April. We had a shooting this past weekend,” Ruiz said.
“We’ve recovered all types of weapons, narcotics, stolen cars, it just keeps
growing out of control.”
Homeowners associations and people who live in the area have become
“It’s a quality of life issue, it brings the criminal element to Osceola
County,” Ruiz said.
It’s not necessarily Osceola County residents causing the issue. A person
will rent out a home and list on social media when the party will be. It
draws people from all over Central Florida, Ruiz noted.
But the Sheriff’s Office is prepared to crackdown. They will be approaching
the Osceola County Commission to see if some sort of ordinance can be put in
place to reduce the amount of parties.
Because the communities are mostly gated, the Sheriff’s Office will be
getting open enforcement letters from the homeowners associations to enter
the properties and combat the criminal element.
They are also scheduling extra patrols just so they have a presence the
areas where they know these parties have occurred.
“We are going to be proactive. We are going to be out there enforcing zero
tolerance,” Ruiz said. “We have the community behind us, and just be ready
if you come to these parties you are going to be confronted by law
enforcement. If you are breaking the law, you will be held accountable.”