Planning for safe Fourth of July downtown

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Thousands of people are expected to head to downtown Memphis Friday for the Fourth of July. Organizers of the big celebration say there will be plenty of officers to keep you and your family safe.

Set up for downtown’s big 4th of July celebration is underway.

“We have face painting and all kinds of games and fair food and rides and all kinds of neat things for the kids to do,” said Benny Lenderman, with Riverfront Development Corporation.

The RDC is preparing for a live band on Mud Island, an Elvis-themed fireworks show, and Mother Nature is providing great weather for an evening of fun. Lenderman wants to keep it that way.

“We’ve met with MPD several times. Toney Armstrong himself, and they’re doing a lot of things this year trying to improve traffic flow and people who may get a little unruly,” said Lenderman.

MPD tells WREG they’ll have enough officers present to see that people can have a good time. Last year, even with 200 officers downtown, there were still twp separate shootings that injured a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old. Police blamed the problems on unsupervised teens.

“They’re going to have presence in Tom Lee Park. They’re going to have presence at Beale Street Landing. We have eight security just at Beale Street Landing,” said Lenderman.

Lenderman says the Mississippi River is the absolute best place to see the fireworks in Memphis. He hopes people aren’t deterred by past incidents, because this year they’ve got better traffic and crowd control.

“I think this is going to be a good fourth, especially with our police presence. They’re going to make sure that we all have a good time,” said Carla Gibson, a resident of downtown Memphis.

“I hope safety for all that are present. It’s a holiday. It’s a communal experience and hopefully the residence of Memphis and surrounding area will enjoy it safely,” said Shayla Moon, another downtown Memphis resident.

Memphis police want to remind you of some things you can do to keep yourself safe while down at the celebration: walk in groups, don’t leave valuables visible in your car, and park in well-lit areas.

Independence Day festivities start at 6, and the fireworks will begin at about 9:45.

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