breaking newsCops in Akron, Ohio are STEPPING UP the patrol around LeBron James' home ... amid concerns that locals could go a little crazy when the NBA star announces his new "decision" ... something that could happen as early as tonight.
TMZ Sports spoke with a rep for the Bath Township Police Department ... who confirmed a "significant increase" in police presence will go down around 3PM today ... the time 'Bron is rumored to be making his big announcement.
Officials are hoping locals won't recreate the madness that surrounded LeBron's 2010 decision ... when he left Cleveland for Miami and the city went NUTS -- with people starting fires in the streets and burning jerseys, posters and any other 'Bron items they could find.
As for LeBron -- he hasn't officially announced when he'll make his decision ... but there are reports it will happen TODAY.
Stay tuned ...