January 31, 2023

Ole Braatelien

Why Phoenix officials say security is top concern for Super Bowl

City officials said in a meeting on Wednesday that security is a chief concern for Super Bowl LVII. The discussion took place at the City Council Chambers building in downtown Phoenix.

The Economic Development and Equity Subcommittee (EDE) council members heard from city officials including Phoenix Police Commander Brian Lee.

LEARN MORE: 10 cannot-miss Super Bowl week parties in Arizona

During the meeting, Lee addressed the subcommittee’s public safety concerns for downtown Phoenix during the week leading up to the Super Bowl.  

“Over the past year, the police department along with our partners at the fire department, and many of our city departments have worked together collaboratively to develop a comprehensive public safety plan for the downtown area to support the multiple venues and events that will be taking place during the week leading up to the Super Bowl."

This topic of safety was a follow-up discussion from a previous December meeting, where now Vice Mayor Yassamin Ansari hadbrought up the subject of Super Bowl security.

She specifically referenced the concern of recent shootings in Phoenix.

Although the game will kick off at Glendale’s State Farm Stadium, many of the events surrounding the Super Bowl will take place in downtown Phoenix.

Notable venues Lee said would need adequate security are the Phoenix Convention Center, the Footprint Center, Symphony Hall and Margaret T. Hance Park.

While each location varies in its required level of security, some of the more common and basic precautions Lee mentioned included interior and exterior police staffing, security check points, traffic management and fire department staffing.

“We were able to also request and receive additional resources from the region as well as out of state, and at the federal level by our federal coordinating partners,” Lee said.

“This includes 117 bomb technicians … 104 additional explosive device canine handlers, and were also going to have continuing on-going support from local and federal partners …” Lee said.

The local and federal partners Lee mentioned include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Coast Guard, according to Lee.

This will be the fourth time Arizona has hosted the Super Bowl, the last time being 2015.

But John Chan, director of Phoenix Convention Center and Venues, said there will likely be more security than six years ago.

“You may have heard me in the last subcommittee talking about how this is deemed to be a [Special Event Assessment Rating] one event—which is like the same level of security as a presidential inauguration—and it was the same back in 2015. So [security] hasn’t decreased, but I think there’s just more security measures that are being implemented. And that’s just a change of times,” Chan said.

Yet despite the inherent security concerns revolving around the big event, some Phoenix business owners are not concerned.

TinaMarie Eaves is the owner of Alterations & Creations, an alterations and dry cleaning shop in downtown Phoenix.

When asked about crime during the Super Bowl, Eaves said she was not worried.

“No, I’m not. I don’t think there’s any crime; we have security down town. I’m not worried about it at all,” she said in a phone interview.

Shelby Baldonado, a manager at Greenwood Brewing in downtown Phoenix, said that while a colleague had concerns, she herself feels safe.

“If you were to ask my other co-worker, Jane, she’s terrified of shootings in general. Me? No, I’m not worried about it,” Baldonado said in a phone interview.

 “I have not seen any abnormal crime—I mean you’ll hear the sirens; you’ll see the helicopters every now and then—and there was a shooting down the street, like last First Friday where a cop was shot. It never made it this way, but we heard about it on the news. I’m not scared at all,” Baldonado said.

“I’m more worried about sex traffickers than I am live shooters to be honest with you. … I do feel like [the Super Bowl] is going to be a primetime target event,” she said.