Police confident in keeping holiday tourists safe at large events in Philadelphia

Authorities in Philadelphia say they are prepared to keep an influx of tourists safe this holiday season as gun violence remains in the headlines locally and nationally.

Philadelphia will hold its annual Thanksgiving Day parade on Thursday, and the Christmas Village at LOVE Park near City Hall will continue to draw visitors through December. 

Deputy Commissioner John Stanford said the Philadelphia Police Department will increase its presence around big events, using successful practices used in the past. 

"We look at what's going on around the country if it's something that's pertaining to Philadelphia, obviously, we increase our presence here," Stanford said. 


While Philadelphia is fraught with gun violence, recent mass shootings in Colorado Springs and a Walmart in Virginia have law enforcement officers tightening patrols around large gatherings. 

"It's all hands on deck when we have these events," Stanford said. "We pull resources from other units in the department, so patrol is not impacted."

Just last year, a security guard patrolling Christmas Village shot and killed a Lancaster County man who tried to gain access to a restricted part of the event space. 

Residents are wary of the specter of gun violence at large events, but they're not letting it change their holiday plans. 

"Certainly you have to always be aware of your surroundings in any large event," Kyle Brewer, an Old City resident, told FOX 29. "Here at the Christmas Village, I've always felt safe."