NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD has started stepping up security ahead of this year’s J’ouvert festival in Brooklyn.
The two-mile parade route will be closed to the general public the night before the parade.
This year’s start time has been pushed back to 6 a.m.
Police say they’ll open checkpoints on Empire Boulevard and elsewhere at 2 a.m. to allow revellers who want to get a spot on the route ahead of time.
All participants and spectators will be screened by officers for weapons and alcoholic beverages. Backpacks and other large bags will not be allowed.
“The NYPD will be out in force with a zero tolerance attitude towards anything that might endanger other people,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier this month.
Police said the precautions are similar to security during New Year’s Eve in Times Square.
“We respect people of all background, we respect all faiths, we respect all cultures. At the same time, we have a sacred responsibility to keep everyone safe,” de Blasio said. “We believe this plan developed with community leaders and community members strikes the right balance.”
Last year two people were shot dead, and four wounded during the festival that precedes the annual West Indian Day Parade. The year before Carey Gabay, a Harvard educated aide to Governor Cuomo, was slain after being caught in the crossfire of a gang shootout.