Editorial: University police keeps football games safe

ASU Police has seen a decline in crimes at sporting events in Sun Devil Stadium. There has been a reported decrease in minor in consumption citations, less hospitalization and less fighting or dumping of food and drinks, which is the most common crime at football games. Some football fans are quick to attribute the decrease in crime to the increased presence of families, but the family presence at Cardinals games is just as high, if not higher.

It’s more likely that the increase in University law enforcement is the reason students can enjoy a safe game of football. In addition to increased police presence, a lack of sport rivalry and heightened security preparation has contributed to the overall safer sports experience. There are even undercover cops in ASU gear roaming pre-game tailgate parties to issue MICs to underage drinkers before they can enter the stadium.

There were approximately 90 police officers from several local police departments at or near Sun Devil Stadium during Thursday’s game against Oregon, and more than twice that many event security officers. Officers are on hand to prevent whatever crimes any football fans would even consider committing.

Of the 72,000 attendees who filled the stadium (at least until Oregon’s early lead sent fair-weather Sun Devil fans fleeing to escape the mad traffic rush), only three needed medical attention, one of whom was in the student section. Part of this could be attributed to the cooler temperatures and part has to do with the stadium’s lack of alcoholic beverages.

The University has worked hard to ensure that alcohol stays out of all campus festivities, including sporting events. As a result, not only do no altercations result from the uncomfortable occurrence of a spilled beer drenching one’s shirt, violence in general is less prevalent at Sun Devil Stadium than wet venues.

The alcohol ban impacts the amount of violence at Sun Devil Stadium. If one were to look at other collegiate sporting venues like the Los Angeles Memorial-Coliseum, where the USC Trojans play, there are more opportunities for violent altercations due to the presence of alcohol.

Security is fairly tight at our stadium and it doesn’t let fans rush the field, so ASU police don’t have to worry about trespassing or unruly fans. The structure of Sun Devil Stadium lends itself well to the managing of overly-enthused fans. There also aren’t very many student visitors from rival teams that sit in student sections. They prefer to sit on the other side of the stadium, which limits occasion for conflict.

Police presence at the stadium drastically increases for rivalry games, like the annual ASU-UA Territorial Cup, but ASU games have still been relatively calm during the past couple of years, according to ASU Police Assistant Chief Jim Hardina.

Let’s hope ASU’s police department and sports fans can keep the ball rolling on the University’s new safety trend.

 

Want to join the conversation? Send an email to opiniondesk.statepress@gmail.com. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.