KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Westport patrons had mixed reactions on Thursday when they learned security screenings are returning to the KC entertainment district this weekend.
In an email, a spokesperson with the Westport Regional Business League said they only had a few weekends last year to test the new “enhanced security measures,” but they believe they’ve fixed the glitches.
Starting April 5, visitors heading to Westport between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays will have the option to go through six security checkpoints. There were only four security entrances last year, and it often led to longer wait times.
“It’s always been a hassle, hard to find parking and the security kind of put me off,” Chris Hosmann said.
“It was a little annoying because I do want to do what I want to do and I’m safe, but you don’t know if other people are safe, too,” Alexandra Hartog said.
The new checkpoints will be on either side of the Westport Alley off Mill Street in front of Johnny Kaw’s Yard Bar.
Visitors will also see double the number of metal detectors. The enhancements are projected to get crowds through security four times faster than last year.
“[I think] that’s going to mean more business because I know that some people just tend to up and leave whenever they’re like, ‘Well, I’ve been waiting here for a really long time,’” Hartog said.
“Be prepared. Have your stuff ready, and you’ll get right on through, you know,” Tyrie Woodbury added.
The screenings started last summer as a response to a growing trend of shootings and violence in the entertainment district.
When the city council agreed to privatize streets and sidewalks in Westport back in 2017, it opened the door for police officers to set up metal detectors and screen visitors for weapons during the late-night hours.
The screenings will run through October.
There are dozens of items that aren't allowed in Westport during the security screening times. See a full list of items here.