Security ramps up for hot beach weekend

CHICAGO (WLS) -- First responders were on the move at North Avenue Beach Friday afternoon, and several police were on patrol, getting ready for the big weekend ahead.

"There's trucks, there are squad cars. I've never seen this many police, so there is quite a police presence," said Katie Lieske.

For Chicago officials, safety is a top concern as summer kicks into high gear and crowds gather at various events this weekend.

"No specific threats to Chicago...people should go out and have a good time and enjoy themselves. But again, be cognizant of your surroundings and if you see something, say something," said Richard Guidice of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

At North Avenue Beach, Chicago police are stopping people on their way to the beach and checking their bags, one after another.

"I would rather be safe than sorry," said Tisha Clausell. "We're here in Chicago, we know the crime is let's just be safe. Check my bag, I don't have anything to hide."

The bag checks include coolers, and alcohol is not permitted. Danny Goff of Indianapolis and his friends found that out after hauling beer to celebrate his birthday. They were turned around.

"I guess the laws here are a little different than where we're from," said Goff.

Another big concern this weekend? The water.

Green flags were flying Friday afternoon, but the National Weather Service has issued a beach hazard statement starting Saturday at noon for the possibility of five-foot waves and rip currents.

"Green means conditions are okay to swim in, yellow means swim advisory and caution is advised, a red one means we have a swimming ban. We'll obviously assess the conditions when we open up at 11 a.m. tomorrow," said Lifeguard Captain Eric Bushonville.
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