The Super Bowl is the most popular sporting event of the year with tens of millions of people tuning in at home, and thousands watching from the stadium. This year’s game, being held in New Jersey’s Metlife Stadium, is expected to host around 80,000 spectators. Because of its proximity to New York City and the high-profile nature of the event, anti-terrorism and law enforcement agencies are on edge and security is high.
Here’s what you should know about security at the Super Bowl this year:
1. Multiple Agencies, Including Homeland Security & Customs, Are Involved
Security at the Super Bowl will be provided by a number of government agencies working in tandem, headed up by the Department of Homeland Security and New Jersey police. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be providing security for transit to the area, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for inspecting all equipment and cargo at the stadium and providing air space security, and the Coast Guard will be ensuring safety from the waterways.
Police and Customs agents will also be on hand to curb the amount of counterfeit merchandise outside the event.
2. The Biggest Risk Is Reportedly an Attack on Mass Transit
According to NJ.com, there is no credible or organized threat directed toward the Super Bowl, but police still believe that transit systems remain the biggest target.
These fears mostly stem from incidents that occurred in Russia late last month when two suicide bombs, one on a bus and one in a train station, rocked the southern city of Volgograd. These bombs went off only around 300 miles from where Russia will be hosting the winter Olympics starting next week.
Because of this fear Metlife Stadium has drastically cut down the number of parking spaces spectators are allowed to utilize by selling parking passes in the weeks before the game. Any cars parking near the stadium will be x-rayed.
3. 4,000 Security Officers Will Be at the Stadium
In addition to the 80,000 fans and thousands of stadium employees, over 4,000 police and agents from close to 30 government agencies will be in attendance at the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Edward Cetnar of the New Jersey State Police told ABC, “Our SWAT team divers heavy rescue aviation and marine have extensive training on scenarios we might have to confront.”
The total cost to taxpayers has yet to be tallied, thought the Asbury Park Press reported that Super Bowl-related measures, including security, had already cost New Jersey taxpayers $17.7 million by January 25.
4. Spectators Will Go Through Metal Detectors & Be Patted Down
Football fans attending the game should expect a high level of security and major restrictions on what they cannot bring into the stadium.
Women are allowed small clutch bags, 4.5 by 6.5 inches or smaller. You should not risk bringing anything other than that.
On the list of banned items are alcohol, footballs, umbrellas, cameras with lenses larger than 6 inches, and backpacks.
5. Police Are Investigating a White Powder Hoax at Local NJ Hotels
— Rob Nelson (@RobNelsonABC7) January 31, 2014
Police today were investing envelopes of white powder sent to six or more hotels near the Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. After testing, the FBI determined that the powder was not hazardous, and NBC New York is reporting that the power was actually corn starch.
Police are still investigating who mailed the envelopes and why.
— FBI New York (@NewYorkFBI) January 31, 2014