The NYPD's counterterrorism unit is ramping up security for this year's US Open in Queens, having reinforced fencing around the new 8,000-seat grandstand at Billie Jean King National Tennis Center with thick cables capable of withstanding a truck loaded with explosives. Increased security is a direct response to recent attacks on civilians in Europe and the United States, though the NYPD has not identified any credible threats directed at the two-week tennis tournament.
"I've already warned people they're going to see it," event security director Michael Rodriguez told CBS, of the extra measures. "And they should feel good about seeing it."
In addition to physical fortifications, new security measures include surveillance cameras around the top of Arthur Ashe Stadium and around the periphery courts, and devices designed to detect a chemical or radiation attack. Heavily armed SWAT teams with dogs will be stationed outside the grounds where crowds cue up to enter, and—as has come to be expected at large-scale NYC events—plainclothes cops will be peppered throughout the venue. Vehicles making deliveries will be screened a quarter mile from the grounds.
On top of hundreds of NYPD officers, the venue will also have 300 private security guards on duty. The lengthy list of banned items ranges from expected—alcohol, food, weapons, drones—to the less-expected: selfie sticks? flags? tennis rackets?
Within the last decade, the US open established a more stringent screening process for attendees than your typical sporting event, banning backpacks and replacing wand metal detectors with airport-style walkthrough detectors.
At the Open's kids even on Saturday, all of this heightened vigilance failed to deter one ill-intentioned attendee—the NYPD is now seeking a man who allegedly attempted to kidnap a girl from her seat at Arthur Ashe Stadium that afternoon.
The matches officially start today, and will continue through September 11th.