3 Security Challenges Houston Will Face Hosting the World Series

3 Security Challenges Houston Will Face Hosting the World Series

Houston Police, federal security agencies and surrounding security professionals will have to overcome challenges to keep Minute Maid Park safe and secure.

For the first time since 2005, Houston, Texas will be hosting the World Series. While local police have not recently worked at securing World Series games, they have since hosted the American League Championship, Super Bowl and the Final Four. These events have prepared them for this new challenge, Executive Assistant Chief Matt Slinkard said.

"You can always learn something from each and every major event that you host," Slinkard told reporters during a press conference about World Series security.

There are three challenges that Houston police, security officials and federal agencies will have to overcome to keep fans safe and secure Minute Maid Park, which will host games three and four of the series. Here's how they are tackling each:

New Technology

Slinkard said that the primary difference between the 2005 World Series hosted by Houston and the one that will be hosted in 2017 is the technology. Social media will play a much more important role in communicating with the public than it did 12 year ago, he said.

In addition to social media, Houston police will be working with updated security systems, Emergency Command Centers and more sophisticated ways of communicating with each agency that will help to patrol the ball park.

"Really, our threat evaluation and our intelligence gathering from a public safety/law enforcement perspective has gotten much more robust and our partnership with other agencies is much better. How we communicate across agency lines, I think that was evident during the Super Bowl and our Final Four," Slinkard said. “We will have resources in place, both seen and unseen."

Traffic and Mobility

When one thinks Houston, they think traffic. Which is why one of the biggest challenges Houston will have to overcome is the ease of egress for fans at and around the ball park on the days of the games. Slinkard said that hosting the ALCS helped officers identify some "pinch points" of traffic around Minute Maid Park.

Drivers can expect the same type of road closures around the stadium that they experienced during the championship series.

Ready For Anything

In addition to the obvious security zones, police will need to be ready for anything. Just a few weeks ago, police were not as concerned with threats from high places, but following the Las Vegas Shooting at a country music concert, police have been seen surveilling and placing snipers at the roofs of ball parks to ensure the safety of the fans inside.

Security officials will need to be ready for any and all threats including mass shootings, bomb threats and vehicle attacks due to the current events around the world. So far, Houston PD has done a great job at addressing these threats head on and assuming a plan of action for each in both a preventative and after-the-fact way.

"We will have plenty of resources on hand, and we'll have resources both seen and unseen to protect the public and ensure a safe environment as people go to the events," Slinkard said.

About the Author

Sydny Shepard is the Executive Editor of Campus Security & Life Safety.

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