Safety is Top Priority for Beale Street New Year’s Eve Celebration

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(Memphis) Memphis Police is beefing up there patrols for Beale Street’s New Year’s Eve Celebration.

As many as 40,000 people are expected to pack onto the historic street on Monday night. That number could suffer if it rains, but regardless police will be working to keep everyone safe.

Thousands of people have already poured into the Mid-South for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl football game. Many of them say they're ringing in the New Year Monday night on Beale Street.

“We've heard a lot of good things about Beale Street and the city of Memphis and we wanted to get down here from Iowa,” said John Lutz. “It’s 10 degrees up there and 30 down here. We'll take that any day.”

However, people like Lutz can expect to find Beale Street heavily secured. Hundreds of officers will be on hand, as Memphis Police gets help from other departments like OCU, TACT Units, as well as plain clothes officers.

“I'd rather have more than just a few [officers],” said Lutz.

Plus, party-goers will have to go through security as officers check for weapons. The screening starts at 8:00 Monday night.

“When you put the security in place and you do wand people and they know you're doing that, it seems to deter [crime] and that’s the big thing,” said Ty Agee of the Beale Street Merchants Association.

After all, he says downtown is the safest area of Memphis,  even when thousands pour in to watch the Hard Rock guitar drop and ring in the New Year, “We try real hard to keep people safe so they can have a good time.”

Police encourage everyone who plans to celebrate the New Year to stay safe, to designate a driver and to not drink and drive.