Sunfest security a priority, police say

Sunfest security a priority, police say (WPEC)

Starting on Wednesday, look for road closures in downtown West Palm Beach.

The closures allow set-up for Sunfest, the waterfront music festival that starts a week from Thursday.

This year Sunfest comes on the heels of the deadly attack in Toronto, where van plowed through pedestrians along the city’s main street, killing 10 and injuring 15.

Each spring, Sunfest attracts more than 150,000 people to the West Palm Beach waterfront, meaning there are a lot of people roaming the downtown area.

Sunfest organizers and police say security and safety have always been a priority, regardless of what may have just happened in the world.

“Every year we make adjustments to our security plan,” said West Palm Beach Assistant Police Chief Tony Spatara. “We review different things that have happened.”

Police can only reveal so much for security reasons, but they say the Sunfest crowds will be safe.

Lisa Ruth, a West Palm Beach-based international security consultant and former CIA counterterrorism analyst, is urging festival goers to be aware of your surroundings.

“You don’t want to get over the top paranoid, but just situational awareness,” she said. “It’s really not that much different then being in a movie theater, and noticing where the exits are. The Intracoastal is on one side. How are you going to leave if you’re in the middle of watching a concert, for example?”

“That’s consistent with crime prevention,” Spatara said. "The first step in crime prevention is taking your own personal safety into account, being aware of your surroundings. If you see something suspicious, call the police so we can respond to it.”

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