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Police beef up security for 'Light Up The Square'

Tree lighting follows deadly Fifth Third shootings
Posted at 8:53 PM, Nov 22, 2018

CINCINNATI – Police want everybody to be safe and feel safe, so there will be more police at Friday’s “Macy’s Light Up The Square” event than ever, including a K-9 bomb unit, according to Capt. Mike Neville.

SEE the event schedule below.

Police say they increase security at the popular Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Fountain Square as crowds grow.

"The crowds get out into the streets even out toward Race Street, so when they get that big, we have to add additional manpower to make sure everybody feels safe,” Neville told WCPO.

But it’s also a residual effect from the deadly attack at the Fifth Third Center last September. That’s when a gunman killed three people before police officers killed him.

Neville said it's a reminder that tragedies can happen anywhere.

"We're going to be more vigilant and concerned. And yet, we prep for this and we have officers in place. Plus, we have officers in place that nobody will see, either,” Neville said.

Police also want to get the word out to the public to report anything suspicious.

“If you see an unattended backpack, or really even if you think something doesn't look right, we will look into it for you. We don't expect you to do it,” Neville said.  “It doesn't have to be anything specific. If there's something that's concerning to you, then it's concerning to us.”

The event runs from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., but festivities on the square start at 9 a.m. Here’s the schedule:

  • 9 a.m.: Skating rink opens
  • Noon: Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt opens
  • 6 p.m.: 2nd Wind Band performs
  • 7:25 p.m.: Tree lighting ceremony and fireworks show (weather permitting)
  • 7:40 p.m.: 2nd Wind Band performs
  • 10 p.m.: Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt closes
  • 11 p.m.: Rink and concessions close