U.S. Open Fans Protected by Layers of Security
Layers of security have been implemented in New York City just in time for the U.S. Open to be played at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. One of the most talked about is a black metal fence that officials say is to keep suicide bombers in vehicles out of the event’s safe zone.
New York Police Department counterterrorism officials insisted on the fence, near new 8,000-seat grandstand stadium, be reinforced earlier this year with thick strands of cable capable of withstanding a crash from a truck loaded with explosives.
Attacks in Europe and mass shootings in the U.S. have created a climate that’s added to vigilance over this year’s U.S. Open, which has already posed daunting security challenges because of its sheer size; over 700,000 spectators are expected to view the tournament over a two-week period of time. The fans will be packed into two stadiums, two grandstands and other seating at more than a dozen other tennis courts, all connected by sprawling pedestrian walkways.
While officials say there is no credible threat to the tournament, NYPD will be beefing up the number of officers patrolling in the area. Layers of protection include installation of temporary closed-circuit surveillance cameras, including some perched atop the 23,771-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium, along with devices that can detect chemical, biological or radiation risks. Other defenses include strict screening at checkpoints for spectators.
At the conclusion of the tournament, the men’s final will be played. The event just happens to land on the 15th anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11, 2001. For the event, NYPD will hire 300 private security guards to keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
Even though U.S. Open security officials have done all they can, the event has already suffered a sort of security breach. Over the weekend at a practice match, a young girl was approached by a man she did not know. The child was told to follow the man as he grabbed her wrist. She refused and was able to pull herself away from him after kicking him.
The near kidnapping has everyone on edge, but grateful that there were no injuries. The NYPD are still on the lookout for the alleged kidnapper.