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Security for Tom Lee Park fireworks beefed up

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Police say you can do some things to help yourself, including walking in groups, not leaving valuables visible in your car and not drinking and driving.Fireworks explode (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Police say you can do some things to help yourself, including walking in groups, not leaving valuables visible in your car and not drinking and driving.Fireworks explode (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - Thousands of people are expected to flock to downtown Memphis on Friday for two fireworks displays. One will be on Mud Island and the other at Autozone Park.

This year, security is top of mind after two separate shootings injured two teens last year at Tom Lee Park. The fireworks are set to go off at 9:45 p.m. on Friday.

They will be set off across the way on Mud Island, but this year Memphis Police and other organizers are doing their best to make sure those are the only one kind of fireworks set off are in the sky.

"I'm hoping don't anything go like that this year. I'm hoping everything is fine and everybody gets to come out and enjoy themselves," said Tari Daniels.

Daniels has been sitting at Tom Lee Park since Friday afternoon, but she can't help but think about what happened last year.

"We're not scared.  We're not scared," said Daniels.

Last year was quite the opposite, after someone fired shots into a crowd at Tom Lee Park. The shooting injured a teenager and frightened the crowd moments before the show started.

Bill Cobett remembers watching it all unfold from Mud Island last year.

"We didn't really know what was going on, but then we saw everybody running and the police sirens, you kind of figured," said Cobett.

Organizers are making safety and security a priority. They are starting with a few changes, like placing officers at Tom Lee Park, Mud Island and Beale Street Landing. They have closed Riverside Drive to traffic and closed off parking at Tom Lee Park.

"Everybody is basically walking on and everything so I don't think we'll have any problems this year," said one fireworks watcher.

All of the changes and added security are to ensure the only kinds of fireworks are in the sky. 

"How many years has it been since we've had a Fourth of July that was 80 degrees and no rain.  Just a beautiful day and a beautiful night. Especially when the finale goes off," said Cobett.

Last year the Memphis Police Department had more than 200 officers in the downtown area. They expect that many tonight, but say you can do some things to help yourself, including walking in groups, not leaving valuables visible in your car and not drinking and driving.

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