Increased security in place at Florida Strawberry Festival - WFLA News Channel 8

Increased security in place at Florida Strawberry Festival

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Florida Strawberry Festival organizers say increased security will be present at this year's event. The decision was made after a "wilding" incident earlier this month at the Florida State Fair, where teens mobbed the midway, fought and damaged property.

"We've met with the sheriff's office, we've met with the Plant City Police Department, we've put a plan in place, " said Florida Strawberry Festival General Manager Paul Davis.

"We're gonna upgrade our security, we're going to have more security. We're going to have cameras and we're going to have undercover officers throughout the grounds," he added.

Col. Jim Previtera with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says fair-like atmospheres can all too often create the perfect storm.

"I think the problem that you have when you have a lot of kids that are unsupervised in an environment like a fair, a festival, a carnival; sometimes the mob mentality takes over," he said.

Previtera says an increased law enforcement presence should discourage the majority of illegal activity.

"There's going to be a number of undercover detectives in the crowd during the peak nights to keep an eye on things and to keep things under control, so anyone who would want to come out to an event like that and disrupt it or cause any problems is going to be making a pretty big mistake," he said.

The Florida Strawberry Festival officially opens at 10 a.m. on Thursday and runs through March 9th.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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