Sunday, August 21, 2011

Spectator Violence In Stadiums

People are starting to ask if it safe to attend sporting events anymore.  I understand particulary in the light of what happened Saturday at the Niner/Raider game at Candlestick and of course the terrible beating incident of Bryan Stow at the Dodger/Giants game in L.A. a few months ago.  Based on the comments in the Bay Area on-line newspapers, the question certainly seems to be on the minds of Santa Clarians who just approved a new 49er stadium.

Candlestick Park
From a security standpoint, sporting events in stadiums can be a nightmare if not approached in a comprehensive and serious manner.  I suspect that some team owners and police departments probably could do a great deal more in this area.  We also cannot have a discussion however unless we include the fans that are involved in these tragic incidents.  I have seen many individuals and groups come into baseball and football games after drinking excessively at tailgate parties.  Often they are boisterous, rude, and ready to fight.  Now it's true, spectator violence in sporting venues is nothing new.  Such spectacles have occurred since the ancient arenas of Greece and Rome.  But I fear that gone are the days when fights were settled with fists.  Now we have people out there that are more than willing to pump four shots into you from a 9mm and go back to partying like nothing ever happened.

Although once rare in the U.S., America is starting to take on the characteristics of longstanding spectator violence in European countries.  Consider the aggression we have seen displayed in stadiums across England, Germany, and the Netherlands.  A perfect example is Britain with their "Football Hooligans".  These roaming bands of thugs commit acts of violence on not only other fans within the confines of the stadium, but on the outskirts as well.  This is problem is so far reaching in England that the Brits have labeled it "The English Disease".

So how do you spot trouble and what do you do about it?  My advise first of all is not to take matters into your own hands.  You as a law-abiding fan have a duty to report trouble to security when you see it or confronted with it.  After many years of dealing with intoxicated people, the one thing I can tell you as sure as the sun sets is drunks are not going to listen to reason.  Further, if they are "violent" drinkers, confronting those individuals most certainly will make things worse.  So please, do everyone a good deed by reporting these individuals before things get out of hand.  How to spot trouble:
  • Obscene or abusive language and/or behavior
  • Fighing, taunting, or threatening remarks and/or gestures
  • Intoxication or signs of impairment related to alcohol or drugs
  • Gang activity
  • Any distraction to the progress of the game
  • Excessive standing that obstructs the view of other fans
  • Throwing objects of any kind
Candlestick Park has "alcohol and disruptive fan response teams" throughout the stadium.  To report an unruly fan or any kind of disturbance:
  1. Contact the nearest Usher or Security for assistance.
  2. Dial #41513 and type in keyword "BADFAN" and a <space>.  Describe the issue and location (i.e., man using obscenities in upper box 61, row 1, seat 1) if you can.  The more detailed you can get the better.
  3. Dial #415-656-4949 and hit "0" to speak with a 49er agent.
***All reports and tips are kept confidential***
For more information go to www.49ers.com/stadium/security-procedures.html

The Oakland Coliseum and the Oakland Raiders have what they call "GuestAssist".  To report any conduct concerns:
  1. Dial #69050 then text the keyword "OAK" along with your message.
For more information go to www.raiders.com/tickets/a-z-fan-guide.html
I recommend you put these numbers in your phone if you attend these types of venues.  Stay safe!




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