Bomb Threat Made At Tigers Game, Fans Unaware

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During Tuesday’s game against the Angels at Comerica park, 33,950 fans watched the Tigers lose 15-0

completely unaware that a bomb threat had been made at the stadium.  According to the Associated Press, Tigers officials and police made the decision not to notify fans in attendance of the threat and instead simply search the stadium quickly and quietly.

Ultimately no bomb was found and everyone was safe, but should the Tigers organization have done more?  Should they have notified the fans?  Probably not says Steve Layne, a consultant who specializes in the protection of public facilities.

"“[If authorities] evacuate every time there is a bomb threat, there will be a lot of empty places. You can’t just pull a fire alarm and yell run,” Layne said. “An evacuation in the middle of a ballgame does cause some problems. You’re running the risk of causing injuries.”"

The AP went on to say Detroit has had three such bomb threats to landmarks in the area in the past week.  All were proven to be false alarms, but that shows the frequency of such an event.  The Tigers – or any other ball club – simply can’t evacuate an arena when a threat is made unless it is deemed credible.  But therein lies another problem.  Who determines what is credible and what isn’t?

"“We don’t make a decision to evacuate unless an actual device is found,” said Donald Johnson, an inspector in the police department’s Homeland Security unit. “We don’t panic. We go step by step. The thought was to find out what we actually had.”"

Obviously, people were upset to find out a threat had been made and they had no knowledge of it whatsoever.  But the truth is, threats against sporting arenas and stadiums are surprisingly common.  Authorities are trained in how to handle such threats.  And evacuating every time a threat is made could, like Layne said, lead to injuries.  People panic.  All it takes is one stadium, one time, and there could be severe injuries from a stampede or panic.

Nothing was found at Comerica Park during the search by police.  No subsequent threats have been made in the Detroit area since the Comerica threat, but police are investigating all of the recent bomb threats in the city.

For more on the Tigers, be sure to check out Motor City Bengals.