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Tighter security at Common Ground Musical Festival

Posted at 7:40 PM, Jul 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-06 07:44:23-04

With more than 60,000 people expected to come out to Common Ground this year security is a top priority.

Even though there haven't been any major issues the past few years organizers are stepping things up, and those changes might mean a longer wait to get into the festival.

Some of the biggest changes are happening at the entrance gate. There's a new bag policy only allowing small clutches, or if you need more space a clear bag that's no bigger than a gallon Ziploc baggie. Security will check your bag then you'll have to walk through a metal detector.

Jenna Meyer, who helps organize the festival, says these changes have been in the works for months.

"It's just based on whats going on around the world right now," added Meyer, who's also the marketing director for the festival.

Aside from more security at the gate there will also be more people patrolling the park, especially later in the week with bigger crowds expected.

"It's really more to make sure everyone around here feels safe and we know what everyone is bringing in through the gates," Meyer said.

Anything the patrols don't see, security cameras through out the park should catch.

"These are all pan, zoom, tilt cameras so we can see everything that's going on," explained Lansing Emergency Manager Mike Tobin.

Tobin and his team will be watching the park from their command center, both coordinating security and making sure nothing gets out of hand.

"Basically for every one camera up that saves us anywhere between 2 and 6 people that we have to have on the grounds just to have eyes out there," Tobin noted.

The patrols that are out will have a new tool this year, fire extinguishers to put out any hot spots if something sparks in the dry weather. But Tobin says that might not be an issue later in the week.

"We do have potential for some rain, thunderstorms end of the week so we'll watch very closely for any potential for severe weather," he added.

Just in case, crews are going over evacuation plans, but they hope it's truly precautions.

"We're just making sure everybody has a good time and is safe while they're down here," Meyer added.

Lansing Police will also be patrolling the park but say in the past few years they haven't had any major issues. Officers did make a few arrests last year but those were for drunk and disorderlies, so they're reminding everyone to celebrate responsibly.