Higher security as December Nights kicks off - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Higher security as December Nights kicks off

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Due to the security-related realities of "what's happening in the world today," a significantly increased law enforcement contingent will be on hand at Balboa Park December Nights 2015 than in years past, a San Diego police spokesman said Thursday.

"You will see an increased (officer) presence," SDPD public affairs Lt. Scott Wahl said.

Wahl declined to quantify the department's planned staffing for the annual holiday celebration, which is expected to draw in excess of 350,000 revelers Friday and Saturday, or discuss particulars about what prompted the change. He did say, however, that it was not solely due to this week's deadly shooting spree at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino.

"What we're doing is really looking at the big picture of what's happening in the world today," he said.

The bolstered corps of officers keeping an eye on the festive goings-on at the park will make use of at least one elevated viewing platform and a number of surveillance cameras, according to Wahl.

"We want to encourage people to come down and enjoy the event, and we also make sure they're comfortable (about their safety) while they're there," the lieutenant said, adding that city officials knew of no threats to the public related to December Nights..

Police also ask the public to help by being watchful for and promptly reporting any potentially suspicious activities during the event.

The festival kicks off Friday, Dec. 4, from 3-11pm, and Saturday, Dec. 5, from noon-11pm.

Participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5-9 pm both evenings and more than 350,000 visitors are expected to attend San Diego’s largest free community festival.

Those who attend will enjoy food, music and entertainment from around the world.

CBS News 8's very own Jeff Zevely is hosting Balboa Park December Nights for the first time!

For detailed Balboa Park December Nights information, click here.

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