Close to 100 sheriff deputies patrol Christmas Tree Lane

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- For its 97th year, Van Ness Boulevard is lighting up and becoming Christmas Tree Lane, where close to 150 homes and 300 trees will be on display.

It is also the first walk night of the season -- Van Ness Boulevard will shut down between Shields and Shaw Avenues for people to walk safely along the street.

Lt. Kathy Curtice of the Fresno Couty Sheriffs Office said, "The walk nights tend to attract a lot of people and it's all foot traffic and it's a very dark area because the lights are turned off so people can have their Christmas decorations lit up and we like to have a strong police presence out here just to help people feel more safe and secure."

With the large crowds coming out for the Christmas celebration, dozens of deputies are spreading out to patrol the area on foot, motorcycles, bicycles, and horseback.

"It's keeping everybody safe, this is wonderful I feel very comfortable," said Margaret Hobbs of Fresno.

The Fresno County Sheriff Department is advising people parking their cars in the area to make sure they are locked, secure and to keep all valuables locked in their trunks.

Deputies also say they come across separated families each year, and say it's a good idea for parents to have a plan in place with their children in case they lose each other. Deputies take lost children to their command post and will be watching over them until they can reunite them with their parents.

"Our primary goal is to allow people to enjoy this event with a strong feeling of safety," Lt. Curtice said.

The Fresno Police Department and CHP Officers are also assisting with traffic on the north and south ends of Van Ness Avenue, the streets are expected to open back up at 11:30 pm Saturday.
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