St Petersburg Police are looking at making the concrete barricades around north Straub Park a permanent staple, in lieu of Thursday’s tragic event in Australia, where police say a driver “deliberately” plowed into more than a dozen terrified pedestrians.
The area in Melbourne’s business district was packed with holiday shoppers and at least 19 people were injured.
St. Petersburg Police recently added concrete barricades around downtown to protect park visitors frequenting the area for holiday events. They say this crime in Melbourne reaffirms why the barricades are so important.
The barricades keep cars coming down Beach Drive or 4th Avenue North from driving into crowds at North Straub Park.
The barricades will become permanent fixtures at large events alongside dump trucks to restrict access to roads being used as event spaces.
Downtown business owners Jose Martinez and Noelia Gutierrez agree on the importance of the barricades. “It’s definitely something we need. It’s highly important," Gutierrez explained. "If people don't feel safe, they won't shop here. Luckily, I think St Pete does a great job enhancing safety and that's why you see hundreds of people enjoying downtown," added Martinez.
Yolanda Fernandez, the spokesperson for St. Petersburg's Police Department explains, “For us it’s always about looking at the worst case scenario. If we learn from another incident that happens somewhere else, that’s just smart. It’s smart for us to look at that to make sure it does not happen here.”
Sarah Chessar, who is in town for Thursday's Gasparilla Bowl at Tropicana Field agrees. “It’s scary the world we live in, but the fact they’re doing something to protect us the best they can is nice. It’s a crime you’re not even aware of until something like this happens and these barricades get put up and you’re like wow I need to be cautious of things like this.”
Security will be tight at the Gasparilla Bowl and in the perimeter around Tropicana Field on Thursday as well.