INDIANAPOLIS — Preparations continued Thursday for the Circle of Lights next Friday which includes an increased security presence.

The Circle of Lights officially kicks off the holiday season in Indianapolis. Thousands pack into Monument Circle to watch them flip the switch and illuminate one of the biggest Christmas trees around. 

“We’re expecting to have a pre-pandemic size crowd,” said Major Josh Gisi with IMPD.

The biggest change people will notice this year is the main stage has been moved to the circle’s south spoke because of Market street construction. 

IMPD said you’ll likely also notice increased security measures the entire weekend.

“You should expect to see an increase police presence in and around monument circle as well as downtown,” Gisi said.

The department says it’s monitoring intelligence reports and there are no current active threats. major Gisi said there will be more to their operation than meets the eye.

“There will be a presence that you can’t see,” Gisi said. “We’ll have our eyes and ears out looking for what we need to look for.”

IMPD said it’s approach to the event is similar to year’s past. That’s despite several incidents of violence in the downtown area this year. 

On Wednesday morning, a man was found shot outside the JW Marriot, but police said that spilled into downtown from an incident on the east side of the city.

“Downtown is really safe,” Commander Phil Burton said. “We only account for less than 5 percent of all crime throughout the entire city.”

Downtown Indy leaders encouraged people to have a route planned out and know where to park. EMS officials also asking attendees to be weather aware. 

“Be aware have a plan in place if it is colder obviously make sure you’re dressed appropriately,” said Emergency Management Director Jacob Spence said.

Public safety officials said if people see something they should say something, but they’re confident they have safety covered. 

“We’ll have a lot of officers downtown to ensure that everyone who comes downtown will be safe and have a good time,” Commander Burton said. “Just go out and enjoy it.”

The IHSAA football tournament as well as Pacers game will also be happening next Friday so officials urged people to get here early and prepare for the crowds. 

The Circle of Lights will get underway at 6:30 with several performances and then they’ll flip the switch right before 8 pm. You can find more information about the event here.