Increased security, cover charge start on Beale Street

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Hundreds of people are streaming into Downtown Memphis right now, and when they hit Beale Street, they'll see a host of new measures meant to keep them safe.

Probably the first thing people noticed was the increased police presence downtown.

But that was just one element of the plan that went into effect Saturday night. Other additions were ID checks and "Beale Street Bucks," a program that charges patrons $10 to enter Beale Street and gives them $7 back in credit to use at Beale Street businesses.

Terence Patterson with the Downtown Memphis Commission said the recent string of violent incidents downtown were a call to action.

"We're not going to sit on our hand, we can't wait another week, we can't wait another day. We've got to do something, and we're committed and poised to do something tonight."

It was only a week ago when Officer Verdell Smith was killed after police said Justin Welch shot three people and hit Smith with a stolen car.

The week before, a stampede involving hundreds of people broke out downtown.

And the week before that, Myneshia Johnson was shot and killed on Second Street, just a block away from Beale. The teen and two other people were shot when a man sprayed the crowd with an assault rifle.

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