Houston Takes Measures to Secure World Series
The city of Houston, Texas, is gearing up for an influx of tens of thousands of fans at the 2017 Major League Baseball World Series, set to take place this week between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros. The city is no stranger to protecting such large gatherings, as it recently played host to Superbowl LI and the American League Championship Series.
"We'll have plenty of resources on hand, and we will have resources both seen and unseen to protect the public," Executive Assistant Police Chief Matt Slinkard said in a news conference Monday at the police department's downtown headquarters. "You can always learn something from each and every major event that you host."
Police are working with the Harris County Sherriff's Office and federal law enforcement to gather threat intelligence leading up to the game, and will utilize those partnerships to secure the more than 40,000 fans inside Minute Maid Stadium. He remarked that the various locations where the game can be viewed, including bars and block parties, add to the complexity of providing security. "Fortunately, we went through this drill for the Super Bowl, so we're applying lessons learned and tweaking them—but we're used to working together, [and we are] already doing that now," Slinkard noted.
The faceoff between the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers will begin in Los Angeles, and games three and four in the series will be at Minute Maid Stadium (and five, if needed). For a possible game six and seven, the series returns to Los Angeles.
Officials will deploy measures both on the ground and above to secure the best-of-seven series. Aviation measures are in place, as federal officials enact a limited no-fly zone during the games. In addition, two SkyWatch platforms, mobile surveillance systems that allow deputies to view the game from high above, will be deployed at the stadium.
Slinkard added that fans can expect additional traffic safety measures around the city, including DWI enforcement. The city is also encouraging baseball fans to be the eyes and ears of security while attending the series, and FBI Spokeswoman Christina Garza urged citizens to take it upon themselves to look out for suspicious behavior. "We constantly remind the public to be aware of their surroundings and report anyone or anything that might seem suspicious to law enforcement," she told the Houston Chronicle.