SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Extra police will be on hand for the thousands expected to gather downtown this weekend for Cinco de Mayo festivities, San Jose police said Friday.

The annual celebration held on the date Mexico’s army briefly vanquished the French typically draws huge crowds to Roosevelt Park and Santa Clara Street, which spill into the surrounding neighborhood.

“It’s a fun celebration. That’s why we’re known for it,” said Sgt. Jason Dwyer, spokesman for the San Jose Police Department.

“We’re hoping for a peaceful celebration where everybody can come out and have a good time,” he said.

There were fewer arrests last year compared to 2011, a trend Dwyer hoped would continue.

An additional 80 patrol officers have been scheduled to help keep the crowds under control, including members of the Police Department’s gang suppression unit, Dwyer said.

“Historically we have seen a pretty big presence of gangs during the Cinco de Mayo weekend. We are focusing on making sure that they don’t commit any crimes. We know the hotspots where they typically will congregate,” he said.

“We know a lot of them are going to be out there showing their gang signs and really trying to represent,” Dwyer added.

Traffic control would be the officers other priority, Dwyer said, with cars and pedestrians diverted on some streets as necessary to prevent gridlock.

“The cruising really does hamper the lifestyle of the people that live down there. It’s difficult for them to get home. It’s difficult for them to leave their home,” he said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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