Increased police patrols downtown ahead of busy Memphis weekend

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - For two straight weekends there has been a shooting near the riverfront.

Memphis police are responding by increasing patrols this weekend in the area.

The extra security comes ahead of several events planned this weekend.

"If we are going to go off Beale to the cigar shop we always go in groups," tourist Michael McGowan said.

This weekend, Memphis will host the Africa in April festival, a NBA playoff game, the Rajun Cajun crawfish festival, and the Annual Southern Hot Wing festival on Riverside Drive--bringing crowds to downtown and to Beale Street.

"It's important to remember that safety enhancement plan brought crime on Beale Street down 30 percent on Beale Street and surrounding areas," Beale Street Merchants Association director Ken Taylor said.

Taylor said Memphis Police and Shelby County Sheriff Deputies will be on Beale Street this weekend.

The Beale Street bucks program is in effect this weekend. That means patrons must go through a security checkpoint complete with ID checks, weapon checks, and a small fee.

"We are use to big events. We are at the height of our event season," Taylor said. "Big crowds are nothing we can't handle and we are excited to welcome everyone down to Beale Street."

African in April is a ticketed event. However, the Rajun Cajun crawfish festival is open to the public.

Organizers of the event said MPD officers will be on hand, along with two different security agencies.

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