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Birmingham ramping up security for the World Games

We’re On Your Side with an inside look at what’s going on behind the scenes to keep the...
We’re On Your Side with an inside look at what’s going on behind the scenes to keep the athletes and you safe.(PRNewswire)
Published: Mar. 16, 2022 at 9:17 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 17, 2022 at 2:28 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re On Your Side with an inside look at what’s going on behind the scenes to keep the athletes and you safe.

“This is going to be unlike any other event the city of Birmingham has seen before,” said Patrick Davis, Special Agent in Charge for the U.S. Secret Service’s Birmingham Field Office.

The 2022 World Games will be an 11-day international, multi-sport event, expected to bring in anywhere from 250,000 to 500,000 people, and athletes from over 100 countries.

And for an event this massive, security is one of, if not the biggest concern.

“There are multiple state and local law enforcement agencies involved,” said Special Agent Davis. “Virtually every component within the Department of Homeland Security is involved in the preparation for this event, as well as components within the Department of Justice, the FBI, the ATF are also willing to help.”

It’s rated as SEAR 1 event, which stands for Special Event Assessment Rating.

That’s the highest level out of five when it comes to the Department of Homeland Security’s consideration of threat, vulnerability, and consequences.

“The best way to compare a SEAR 1 rated event would be like going to the Super Bowl,” Special Agent Davis said. “But ironically enough, the Super Bowl is only one game that happens on one day. Correct? We’re looking at 10 days of events over 24 different venues. So we’re looking at 24 Super Bowls over a 10 day period.”

Planning on going to the games? Special Agent Davis said you need to be patient.

“A lot of road closures, a lot of street closures,” he said. “And there will be Public Service Announcements that go out leading up to the games that will tell people what will be closed and what their expectation could be.”

Special Agent Davis said think about it like going to a football game or going through security at the airport: anything you wouldn’t bring there, you shouldn’t bring to the World Games.

And consider using mass transit or a rideshare company to the games.

And it’s no secret Birmingham has had a violent start to 2022, but Special Agent Davis said the World Games won’t affect BPD’s presence within the city.

“Bringing in those other authorities from outside agencies to assist therefore allows the Birmingham Police Department to ensure the safety and security of the city while the games are ongoing,” he said. “We’re not pulling resources from other parts of the city. So, I don’t want the citizens to think that they’ll be lacking in their communities.”

Agent Davis said they’ll need your help to keep the event as safe as possible too.

If you see something suspicious, no matter how small, call 911.

To buy tickets to the World Games, click here.

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