MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – It’s an innovative move to protect pedestrians at the annual Halloween street party by the Lincoln Road Mall on Miami Beach.
CBS4 was there exclusively as 76 green Archer 1200 Vehicle Barriers were put in place over a 9-block area prior to the party which starts at 7 p.m.
Police said 50,000 people were expected to stop at that party.
Those in attendance noticed the increased police presence and extra safety measures – something they welcomed.
“I noticed more security. We feel safe. I like it,” a party goer told CBS4’s Mike Cugno.
Miami Beach Police Sgt. Tony Loperfido said it was all part of a voter-approved “Pedestrian safety in public space” program.
The barriers are part of U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) qualified anti-terrorism technology under the Safety act that was stepped up after the 9/11 attacks and amid growing concerns after terrorists in vans and trucks killed and wounded scores of pedestrians between 2016 and 2018 in New York City, Barcelona Spain, London and Nice, France.
Loperfido said, “We have these barricades in place in order to create a safe pedestrian area. We’ll be able to close the roadway so that any vehicle that tries to get inside the perimeter or drive into a crowd will not be able to. These barriers weight about 800 pounds each and as we move it towards the roadway any vehicle that tries to go around it will be disabled.”
Video posted on You Tube demonstrates how vehicles are pushed up in to the air when they try to go through the barriers.
“We have to be prepared,” said Loperfido. “We don’t know. We can only hope this does not come to Miami Beach and never becomes an issue here but we have to be prepared for our citizens and for our safety. The police department is here to protect everyone so that they can get out and have a good time and not have to worry about something bad happening.”
Residents voted to spend $72 million worth of public safety and security enhancements as part of the city’s $439 million general obligation bond. Seventy per cent of the Residents voting approved that bond issue last year.
Pedestrians like Anita Teglasi applauded the initiative.
“It’s a good idea. One of the reasons I don’t go out on Halloween is because of how dangerous it can be,” she said.
Katarina Spreer said, “This is a very good idea with things being so crowded and there are huge issues regarding safety.” Gilda Orozco said, “Safety is good thing. Nothing has happened lately but this is a good idea.”
Arelis Alvarez said, “A little safety does not hurt. Just look at Barcelona.”
Margie Perez said, “Safety is good. It is a good thing.” Chris Machin added “I am all for safety.”
Police say there have not been problems before with the Halloween party but authorities note that October has the highest number of pedestrian deaths nationwide and 52 percent of them occur between 6 and 11 at night.