How safe are concert venues in Arizona?

Posted at 6:31 AM, May 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-23 12:53:17-04

Ariana Grande kicked off her Dangerous Woman tour in Phoenix and with a long list of summer concerts planned around the Valley many are naturally questioning how safe our venues are.

At most venues, like Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix, you are met by metal detectors and bag checks at the doors before large events.

A clear bag policy is also standard practice for many large events after it first debuted at an Arizona Cardinals game.

Phoenix Police say they have officers assigned to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Arizona Counter Terrorism Info Center who regularly share information and monitor incoming intelligence to ensure safety.

However, retired Phoenix FBI special agent in charge and author of the book “How to Stop a Terrorist Before It’s Too Late," John Iannarelli says the reality is despite several mechanisms to keep bad guys out of arenas the common areas are still vulnerable.

"The lobby is a soft target. There are always going to be soft targets, we can't get away from that in a free society. What we can do is be aware of our surroundings and react." said Iannarelli.

He says after an attack your first reaction should be to run to safety. He says a second threat is often in place to target those who go to help.

Iannarelli says understanding the "see something, say something" rule is also critical.

"We're not concerned with where a person comes from, what religion they are, it's what they are doing. If you see a person conducting surveillance, taking pictures of a location that would not necessarily be an object of photography." said Iannarelli.

He advises you always report unknown packages or bags left behind in public areas as well.