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Preparations Underway For Inner Harbor 4th Of July Festivities

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Just about 24 hours and counting until fireworks light up the night sky downtown. As the city prepares for tens of thousands, preparations are also underway for any potential trouble.

Mike Hellgren has more on final preparations for the big event.

Preparations are underway for the Inner Harbor’s 18-minute-long fireworks show.

“We have two barges. There will be one right in the middle of the Inner Harbor a little closer to the crowd and then a larger one out near the Domino Sugar building,” said Mitch Case, Office of Promotion and the Arts.

Police have amped up security. No one gets leave and plain clothes officers are part of the strategy.

“Those officers are going to actually be mixed into the crowd. They’re specifically going to look for disruptive behavior,” said Col. Darryl Desousa, Chief of Patrol, Baltimore City Police.

Police will track officer deployments using GPS and hand out fliers in the harbor, warning against disruptive behavior.

“It’s just basic protocol of courteous behavior,” said Col. Melissa Hyatt, Area Commander, Baltimore City Police.

In recent years, police have put up fencing around the Inner Harbor to control access. They’re doing that again this year.

Sheriff’s deputies and state police will also be on hand, tracking the crowd north after the fireworks.

“We’ll have a team of deputies responsible for the boundaries of Baltimore Street to Saratoga and then from Guilford to St. Paul Street just to keep the flow moving,” said Capt. Therman Reed, City Sheriff’s Office Special Ops.

There were no major incidents on the Fourth last year, but in 2011, fights broke out at the Inner Harbor, a tourist was murdered and someone shot a four-year-old at Pratt and Light Streets.

The chief of patrol says not this year.

“It’s going to be zero tolerance for nonsense. We don’t want any type of disruptive behavior whatsoever in the downtown area,” said Desousa.

The murder rate in the city is down 16 percent at the midyear point compared to last year.

The Inner Harbor festivities run from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday. The fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. and the Naval Academy Band plays at 7 p.m.

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