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Store Violence


A recent article in USA Today highlighted the increase in retail store violence and a number of recent killings.  Stores and malls do not want to alarm customers who will be scarred off if they have to go through metal detectors.  The National Retail Federation recently released a free online training program based on DHS guidelines.  The various killings highlighted in the story often involved co-workers and the risk of workplace violence is one of the biggest concerns faced by most employers and institutions.

Fan Safety Survey Results

The following appeared in USA Today on April 20th, 2011

Tell us: Do you feel safe at the stadium?

By Erik Brady, Bob Kimball and Michael McCarthy, USA TODAY

Fan support getting out of hand

By Bob Kimball, USA TODAY

Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan beaten nearly to death in a Dodger Stadium parking lot, remains in critical condition. His two attackers remain at large. And the sports world remains horrified.  

USA TODAY wants to hear from you. Do you feel safe going to your local stadium? Are you comfortable bringing your kids to games? Or do you think fan behavior is out of control?

The Los Angeles Dodgers have canceled half-price beer night and assumed the cost of extra city police officers at their games in the aftermath of an incident that is only the latest involving fan violence at U.S. stadiums:

• As many as 75 people brawled in the Rose Bowl parking lot before the Southern California-UCLA football game in December. Two were hospitalized with stab wounds and three arrested.

• Cellphone cameras captured a strange interlude at tennis’ U.S. Open in September as a 49-year-old woman slapped a 27-year-old man. When her 75-year-old father stepped in, the two men fell over rows of seats. The combatants were taken into custody but not arrested.

• A 23-year-old man put two fingers down his throat and intentionally vomited on an 11-year-old girl at a Philadelphia Phillies game last April. A judge suggested his community service include cleaning ballpark toilets.

Alcohol is often a common denominator in cases of fan violence. Perhaps most infamous is Ten Cent Beer Night, a promotion in Cleveland in 1974 that ended in forfeit when drunken fans stormed the field in the ninth inning. Umpire Nestor Chylak, who was hit by a rock and part of a stadium seat, called fans “uncontrollable beasts.”

“This is not just an American issue,” says Joel Fish, director of the Center for Sport Psychology in Philadelphia. “If you look internationally, there are more cases of fan violence in Europe, in Asia and in South America. So there is just something about sports that pushes buttons in people and activates a lot of emotion.”

Fish thinks the constant media cycle increases fans’ identification with their favorite teams “and the things fans say to opposing players and fans has more of an edge to it than ever.”

Server Malfunction


The company that owns the Applebee’s restaurant chain said on Monday it was immediately retraining its workers nationwide after a server at a suburban Detroit location accidentally served alcohol to a toddler.  

On Friday, Taylor Dill-Reese went to an Applebee’s in Madison Heights, Michigan, where — among other things — she ordered her 15-month-old son Dominick an apple juice. 

What the little boy apparently got instead was a margarita. His mom told WDIV-TV that she only realized something was wrong when Dominick “kind of laid his head on the table and dozed off a little bit and woke up and got real happy.” 

Applebee’s released a statement on Monday saying it was relieved that Dominick was “not seriously injured as a result of accidentally receiving the wrong beverage” and apologizing to his family “for the stress and worry this caused them.” 

It said it would begin to serve apple juice to children only from single-serve containers at the table and would “retrain all severs on our beverage pouring policy, emphasizing that non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages must be stored in completely separate and identified containers.” 

The same week a similar incident occurred at an Olive Garden when a 2-year-old was served alcoholic sangria instead of orange juice.  In response to the incidents, various people suggested retraining staff members, developing new policies for alcohol and juices, and limiting bar usage for service.

Foiling Card Readers


Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) are embedded in numerous products and over the past several years have made their way to financial items such as credit and debit cards.  There are an estimated 140 million Americans with RFID embedded credit or debit cards.  Through using a cheap RFID reader that can be purchased online or through numerous stores, someone can steal credit card numbers and expiration dates.  To help prevent such identity theft, patrons should carry multiple cards with RFIDs in their wallet/purse so that it will confuse a reader or the wallet can be shielded by inserting some aluminum foil into the wallet.

Coffin in the Stands


Sports Illustrated had a little article in their April 11, 2011 issue highlighting that a dead fan was snuck into a stadium in Columbia.  The day after the 17-year-old fan was shot and killed 200-300 fans celebrated outside the stadium and with 15 minutes left in the game they rushed through the open gates with the coffin and then passed the coffin through the terrace level.  This incident can remind readers about the movie Weekend at Bernie’s.

Another Taser Incident in PA

Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper is reviewing an incident in which police Tasered and clubbed a drunken fan at PNC Park during a Pirates game, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Monday.

“The Bureau of Police recognizes that police officers, in the performance of their duties, will encounter situations where it is necessary to use force in order to effect arrest or otherwise protect the public welfare or as a means of protecting themselves,” Chief Harper wrote in a statement.

“Officers shall only use a level of force that the officers might reasonably believe is necessary. Each use of force is documented and reviewed by each officer’s supervisor and members in their chain of command.”

Saturday night’s bust-up was caught on video by another fan and posted on YouTube. In the footage, Scott James Ashley, 41, is seen being led out of the stands by police. A fellow fan tried to high-five him as he walked past but the attempt was prevented by a stadium employee.

Ashley responded by striking the stadium employee with his elbow, it is alleged.

At that point Pittsburgh Detective Francis Rende told Ashley he was being placed under arrest, according to the police complaint, and asked him to put his hands behind his back.

When Ashley refused, Rende and another officer forcibly subdued by using a Taser and clubbing him with their nightsticks, the Post-Gazette said.

After repeated clubbing, the two officers tackled Ashley and handcuffed him as a large crowd gathered, chanting “USA” because Ashley was wearing a red, white and blue USA jacket.

Rende wrote in the complaint that he and his colleague feared for their safety during the incident.

Harper, in his statement, said the city prohibits police from using excessive force, adding that the department “recognizes the importance of video evidence when reviewing any interactions between the police and the public.”

Carbon Monoxide Scare


Zamboni and other ice surfacing machines that run on gas power are in the news again as several incidents over the past couple months resulted in several hospitalizations.  In Colorado CO exposure caused over 80 people to seek medical care.  The incident was caused in part by the ice resurfacer and a broken damper motor prevented fresh air from coming into the facility.  HVAC systems need to be properly maintained including regular inspections.  CO detectors should also be installed in all facilities just in case.

Hostile Customers


The March 2011 issue of Security magazine had an interesting article concerning hostile customers.  These are the customers who yell, scream, shove, vandalize, etc…  Every organization might face such customers/patrons at a given time and there needs to be a plan in place to deal with them.  This plan needs to address concerns associated with actions they might take against other customers (fighting for the same sale item), against the facility (breaking equipment), and against employees (stalking and workplace violence).

Fan Attempts to Rush Court


After a major on-court shoving match between the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night (March 31, 2011) a partially nude woman (according to some reports) tried to rush the Mavericks’ bench. The Staples Center security team, dressed in all red coats, reacted quickly and ensured that no one was hurt.  The fan was quickly escorted from the seating area.  The video shows the guards responding very professionally.

Attack Outside Dodger Stadium


Los Angeles police are looking for two men who beat and critically injured a San Francisco Giants fan in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after the opening day game on Thursday night. 

Two men in Dodgers clothing allegedly followed three men in Giants gear as they walked to their car after Thursday night’s 2-1 Dodger victory. 

The attackers allegedly yelled slurs against the Giants and began kicking and punching the men.  One victim suffered a head injury and was hospitalized in critical but stable condition. 

Update- Several days after the attack the fan is still in a medically induced coma and there is now a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the assailants.  After the incident several other incidents have come to light including the shooting death of a Giants fan in the parking lot in 2003, a man was stabbed several times in the parking lot in 2009, a fan at an Angels game was killed in the stands in 2009, in 2009 there were 32 serious crimes around Dodgers Stadium, and in 2010 the number had dropped to 21 serious crimes including rape, homicide, aggravated assault, robbery, and burglary.

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