Police prepared for record crowds on Beale Street - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Police prepared for record crowds on Beale Street this New Year's Eve

(WMC-TV) - Record crowds are expected in Downtown Memphis this New Year's Eve, and while police have a plan to keep you safe, they want you to do your part.

Thousands are expected to ring in 2012 on Beale Street.  The street has a capacity of 20,000, and Memphis police expect it to fill up fast New Year's Eve.

In addition, Saturday's Liberty Bowl and unseasonably warm weather will add to the crowd.

"Vanderbilt and Cincinnati have shown up in droves, so I think all that's going to combine to make for a big crowd," said Lt. William Woodard with the Memphis Police Department.

At least 150 police officers are assigned to watch over downtown Saturday night.  Some of them will be easy to spot, while others will be undercover.  Others will be watching on camera from the Real Time Crime Center.

"On an event like this, when you have 20,000 people on Beale Street and maybe half again as many at downtown hotels, bars, restaurants, it's labor intensive to keep people safe," said Woodard.

At any entrance on Beale Street, expect to be wanded by a metal detector.  Also, you can drink all night on Beale Street, but you cannot bring your own alcohol.

No weapons are allowed on Beale Street.  Woodard also said do not leave valuables in your car, and keep an eye on what you must bring with you.

"Don't bring your valuables with you," he said.  "If you do, don't leave them in plain sight."

Later in the evening, officers will begin to shut down streets to control the flow of traffic.  Police said at that point, it will be easier to get out of downtown than into downtown.

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