KABOOM: AUTHORITIES REVIEW SECURITY
Hundreds of visitors packed a waiting area at the Red Bank station for a northbound train after the fireworks, and transit personnel directed them into double-decker railcars, below. (Click to enlarge)
Though numerous fights and other incidents broke out downtown, authorities assessing last Saturday’s KaBoomfest say things went particularly smoothly at the Red Bank train station, thanks to the addition of trains and security personnel.
That’s in contrast to a year ago, when the station was the site of a crowd surge, long waits and numerous arrests for disorderly behavior.
And considering the number of people in town, estimated at more than 120,000, the violence that broke out elsewhere was quelled rapidly without any injuries to bystanders or police, according to Red Bank Police Captain Darren McConnell.
“There were many incidents, but they were isolated, and they were put down pretty quickly” by cops or civilians, he said.
Police arrested 20 people, mostly on disorderly persons charges. See who got busted here.
One injury was reported: a knife wound to a hand of a 23-year-old borough man on East Front Street at about 1a, some three hours after the fireworks ended. The knife belonged to an acquaintance, and no charges have been filed pending investigation, McConnell said.
Contrary to rumor, there were no reports of sexual assaults, shots fired or robberies, he said.
“We thought 20 arrests was pretty good, considering the size of the crowd,” he said.
Still, “we’ll probably be upping the force presence next year, but there’s always a limit, both in terms of finances and personnel,” he said.
Going into the event, authorities paid special attention this year to the North Jersey Coast Line station, and the addition of transit security, trains and operations workers appeared to have obviated a repeat of last year’s misbehavior.
New Jersey Transit spokeswoman Courtney Carroll said the station handled about 10,000 travelers, and that the flow was eased by pre-sales of $6 day passes and the addition of trains to the regular Saturday schedule.
Though hundreds of festivalgoers packed a waiting area next to the northbound platform shortly after the fireworks, the crowd appeared patient. NJTW personnel directed adults with children and strollers to an area at the north end of the platform to expedite boarding of a double-decker train that arrived at 10:22 and left with only a handful of travelers unable to board. “It went very smoothly,” Carroll said.
Transit police issued six disorderly persons citations over the course of the day, she said.
“The situation at the station was the best I’ve ever seen,” McConnell said. “The operation went exceptionally well.”