Reporting Monique Griego
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As hundreds of thousands of people get ready to celebrate the Fourth of July at the Inner Harbor, police are also gearing up to make sure the festivities are violence-free.
Monique Griego has more on what their plans are.
This year, police are adding new crowd barriers and say they’ll have more officers on the ground.
Fourth of July festivities at the Inner Harbor will bring hundreds of thousands of people together in one place.
“We are excited for the Fourth of July. We saw all the plans on the harbor for the fireworks,” said Ana Maria de la Cruz.
But in 2011, as lights lit up the sky, fireworks ignited in the crowd. This year, police have a new game plan they hope will keep the violent events from repeating.
“People planning to come down to act like troublemakers or cause problems will be dealt with very swiftly,” said Deputy Commissioner Sgt. John Skinner.
In addition to the fights last year, a 26-year-old tourist was stabbed to death by a broken bottle and a 4-year-old was hit in the leg by a stray bullet.
“We don’t want anyone getting hurt. We don’t want to see that page come across last year for that innocent 4-year-old kid. That’s ridiculous,” said Acting Commissioner Anthony Barksdale.
Police are adding a new perimeter fence to the harbor, changing the way officers are deployed, using GPS technology to track crowds and foot patrols and calling in more help from other police agencies.
“Presence of police always make you feel a lot calmer, a lot better, less worried,” said tourist Earl Jackson.
Police also say other tactics implemented after the beating of a man on St. Patrick’s Day are already working. So far, the people we’ve talked with say they believe police have things covered.
“We feel you have good security here so we’re going to go with the flow,” said tourist Rosetta Jackson.
Police used Sailabration as an example of how big events can be successful and not have any incidents of violence.
Fourth of July festivities at the Inner Harbor go from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday. Fireworks begin at 9:30.