Police beef up presence at First Friday - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Police beef up presence at First Friday

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Downtown Las Vegas was alive Friday night as the First Friday celebration and the Pride Parade drew big crowds ready to party.

Those who came out for First Friday celebrations noticed a change from last month. Police substantially beefed up their presence for the festivities.

With nice weather, police anticipated one of the largest crowds yet for the event, people celebrating between Main and Eighth streets.

In fact, to keep the crowd under control, police found a way to expedite their response. Police set up a mobile command center where anyone misbehaving could be arrested and booked right at the site of the party.

"It's seems like First Friday is the night everyone thinks it's OK to come out and get a bit crazy. I recall one guy on the corner, vomiting pills," said attendee Jennifer McHugh.

There is no shortage of YouTube videos illustrating the kind of behavior that McHugh described.

Police say the real trouble comes with what they call the First Friday after party. As crowds expand each month, so too does the amount of violence and criminal behavior.

"We had gang members at the last First Friday event. Any time you put that many people in a small space and mix alcohol, there will be some bad things that occur," said Metro's Capt. Shawn Anderson.

Anderson said the crowd on Fremont Street during First Friday requires the same kind of police presence as a New Year's Eve party.

In all, 45 people were arrested during last month's event.

Police said criminal activity typically increases after 1 a.m.

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