Human trafficking, aviation, cyber security top safety concerns ahead of Super Bowl

Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 7:32 PM MST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2023 at 7:48 PM MST
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GLENDALE, Ariz. (13 News) - The countdown is on for the biggest sporting event of the year.

This week, hundreds of thousands of people will make their way to the Phoenix area for the Super Bowl and other related events.

With so many people in the area, public safety is top of mind.

Human trafficking, as well as aviation and cyber security, are some of the big concerns for law enforcement.

Security has changed a lot since the last Super Bowl in Arizona, which was in 2015. Officials said they now have a full 360-degree approach to monitor the sky, water and cyber environment.

″Every individual, every piece of merchandise, every piece of equipment is screened before it enters this facility,” said Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

This week, the Phoenix metro expects to see more than 70,000 people in the stands and tens of thousands more at events.

For more than a year, federal, state, local and tribal officials have been working together to make this week as safe as possible.

Even though there are no known threats, it’s all hands on deck to keep it that way. From physical threats to the ones you can’t see.

″Our cyber security and infrastructure security agency has deployed it’s personnel to make sure that we have a cyber-secure Super Bowl,” Mayorkas said.

Officials are also monitoring the air and there is a 30-mile no-drone zone around State Farm Stadium.

″From (Feb. 9) through (Feb. 12) across all of our venues across the state, especially in the downtown area where we have large events going on, we do have the flight restrictions in place, and we have the means to enforce that,” explained NFL Chief Security Officer Cathy Lanier.

When it comes to sex trafficking and other illegal activities, there have already been several tips made to 911.

″If you have to ask yourself, ‘Should I report this?’ If you have to ask that question, you probably should report it,” said Arizona DPS Interim Director Ken Hunter.

Officials are following up on every tip.

They’re urging you to say something if you see something that seems out of place. You can call 911 or leave a tip on the FBI’s website.

“One of the most important partnerships we have is with the community, including those 100,000 plus visitors coming to the valley this week,” Hunter said. “As a community, we all need to work together to make sure this a safe and memorable Super Bowl.”

For those who will be coming up to the game and other events this week, officials are recommending that you have a plan in place before heading out. This includes having a designated driver or using rideshare, planning for extra time to get here because of traffic, and checking the prohibited items list.