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updated: 5/23/2017 6:29 PM

Allstate Arena steps up security following Manchester attack

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  • Security was tight with police cars at all the major entrances at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont for Tuesday's concert by The Weeknd.

      Security was tight with police cars at all the major entrances at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont for Tuesday's concert by The Weeknd.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Security was tight with police cars at all the major entrances at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont for Tuesday's concert by The Weeknd.

      Security was tight with police cars at all the major entrances at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont for Tuesday's concert by The Weeknd.
    Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 

Rosemont's police chief and Allstate Arena's executive director were on the phone with each other Monday night after hearing about the deadly terrorist bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England.

With 14,000 people coming to Rosemont for Tuesday's sold-out show by pop star The Weeknd, they -- along with The Weeknd's management -- wanted to make sure every possible safety precaution was being taken.

On Tuesday night, Allstate Arena tightened its security by adding more police to patrol the property and gates, both on foot and in squad cars. Additional undercover police officers mixed into the crowd, both inside and outside, to watch for suspicious behavior, said Pat Nagle, executive director of the Allstate Arena and the Rosemont Theatre.

Besides the existing metal detectors at the entrances, the security guards patted down everyone who came into the building, including children. The heightened security might remain in place for future concerts and events.

"We've got to do it," Nagle said. "(What happened in Manchester) is our worst nightmare."

Allstate Arena is just one of the Chicago area venues re-evaluating or beefing up security in the wake of the terrorist attack. On Monday night, a suicide bomber detonated a bomb filled with shrapnel as crowds streamed out of the Manchester concert hall, killing 22 people, including an 8-year-old girl, and injuring 59 others.

In recent years, security has focused inside the venues. Now, more attention is going to areas outside buildings -- vulnerable spots where crowds congregate before and after events.

That's why Wrigley Field plans to add 30 more security cameras around the ballpark, said Julian Green, the Chicago Cubs' vice president of communications. While the cameras are not in response to what happened in Manchester, the Cubs want them so police can have 360-degree views of what's going on outside and around the ballpark, one of Illinois' biggest tourist attractions that's also used for summer concerts.

The Cubs will give the city of Chicago $1 million to buy the cameras. The Chicago City Council is expected to vote to approve the purchase today.

"It's becoming even more important to pay attention to the outside perimeter of the ballpark," Green said. "The world has changed, and as a result of these incidents, every operator of venues and stadiums and ballparks has to be vigilant."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a statement Tuesday saying there was "no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving music venues" anywhere in the U.S. But the Allstate Arena, and other local venues, are taking no chances.

"People for years have dropped their kids off (at concerts), and gone to see a movie in another part of Rosemont, and then came back and picked them up," Nagle said. "It's a very safe building. We'd like to keep it that way."

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