More officers and expansion coming to Moonfest to ensure safety

Changes for safety being made to Moonfest

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Preparations are underway for one of  West Palm Beach's biggest Halloween parties, Moonfest, and this year there are some changes being made to make sure everyone has a haunting and safe holiday.

They're wheeling in the kegs and have decked out the bars with spider-webs and characters for what's set to be another big Moonfest.

"Preperation started months ago, but the last few days everything is getting delivered "It's nonstop go," Moonfest organizer Maurice Costigan said. "Phone doesn't stop ringing.  Everyone's driving me crazy."

Costigan puts on the Halloween party every year and has for nearly 20 years. 

In that time the event has really grown,  and last year, West Palm Beach Police say, it got out of hand.

Officers couldn't give exact numbers, but they say there were reports of sexual assualts, fights and stabbings.

"Last year we didn't quite plan for the number of people who showed up at the event," Lt. Brian Kapper said. "An estimated 70,000 people showed up. That's probably 30,000 more than we expected."

This year the city is doubling the amount of officers on the street and even putting them in the sky to try to change last year's woes, according to Lt. Kapper of the West Palm Beach Police Department.

"Last year we were at eye level with everybody so we brought in some scissor lifts to help us with visibility issues," he said.

In addition to more police officers, they're not just closing down Clematis Street.

To help congestion Lt. Kapper said they'll also be closing down Quadrille Boulevard from Banyan Boulevard to Datura Street. 

"As long as we can keep the sidewalks safe we'll be just fine," Whitney Offield of Roxy's Pub said.

A new rule of no glass bottles or cans should help that too.  

Offield said Roxy's Pub and many of the other clubs will have double the security staff and more emergency service stations on the streets.

"Now that we've been through it, we've learned from it, we've strategized about it and now we've got plans to make sure it doesn't happen again," Offield added.

This year long collaborative effort by police, city leaders and businesses also is expected to be able to handle crowds if they are larger than expected similar to last year.

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