Lehigh Valley

Local venues discuss security concerns after deadly Manchester attack

The deadly bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester Tuesday night has area concert venues on alert.

69 News reached out to several people who run local venues. Those that got back to us say they work with local law enforcement and have their own protocols in place to keep people safe.

However, one event-goer told 69 News it's easy to slip through holes when going through security.

"I think a false sense of security. They think because they went through metal detector or wand they're safe," he said.

The man who wanted his identity hidden, said he goes to nearly two dozen events every year, and takes his licensed gun for safety with him every time.

"Phantoms games at the PPL Center, Phillies at Citizen's Bank Park, Eagles at the Link," he said, to name a few.

He said he uses side entrances with wands or pat downs, bypassing metal detectors, and never gets stopped.

"A security guard actually wanded down my leg, and I heard a smack. He struck the gun with the wand, looked up and said I could go through," he described.

The PPL Center wouldn't comment but officials did say they are following events in England and will make the proper security adjustments if needed.

Jeffrey Tomlinson is a former 20-year FBI agent and counterterrorism expert.

"There is a constant struggle with private security in law enforcement," he said.

Tomlinson said he's not surprised weapons get through security.

"There is a cost that comes into this, training and what you can put at a venue.  It's not going to be a perfect answer every time. The important thing is to try and do better next time," he said.

Tomlinson said when you think of the number of concerts, sporting events and public gatherings, security in the U.S. is very effective. He said when tragedies happen, like in England, all security personnel learn from it.

"Never going to be 100% safe but security does do a good job here in the United States," he said.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs said internal training is done with staff to spot potential threats. The team's general manager, Kurt Landis, said they also work with local authorities on what to do.

ArtsQuest said it too works with local law enforcement, and when the attacks took place in Paris in 2015, they reached out to similar-sized venues in the region to see what they were doing in terms of best practices.

As for our event-goer, slipping through security with his weapon is still a cause of concern.

"Knowing I do it all the time makes me think anyone could do it at anytime," he said.

Tomlinson said local, state and federal authorities do work together to prevent attacks. He added Americans should feel safe heading to events and trust that law enforcement is doing its job.

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