Philadelphia police say officers will be out in force at Lincoln Financial Field for Sunday’s Eagles-Vikings NFC Championship game, and will be on alert in neighborhoods where spontaneous celebrations might erupt if the hometown team wins.
Besides the beefed-up police presence, parking will be banned on Broad Street between South Street and the stadium complex in South Philadelphia, including the median, between 2 p.m. Sunday and 3 a.m. Monday.
Deputy Police Commissioner Dennis Wilson said the department collaborated with Eagles security in developing a safety plan, which includes having uniformed and plainclothes officers inside and outside the 69,000-seat stadium, as is standard for most games.
Additional officers will be on hand Sunday, Wilson said, though he declined to say how many.
Based on experience, the police presence at the stadium complex will likely include mounted officers.
As a new measure, Wilson said, commanders in police districts across the city have identified “hot spots” where people are likely to congregate after big sports wins. Patrol officers will be dispatched to those areas to ensure any celebrations go peacefully, Wilson said, and deployments will be adjusted for unexpected developments.
After the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, for example, Wilson said, police had to change their response because they did not expect so many fans to flood Broad Street in celebration, smashing windows and setting fires.
He said 20 to 30 people are typically kicked out of each Eagles game by private security, and two or three are arrested for alcohol violations. But he said he believed the narrative that Eagles fans are violent or out of control was “overblown,” and he hoped fans would celebrate the game passionately but peacefully.
“It’s portrayed worse than it actually is,” he said.
One example of police district planning is in the 15th in Northeast Philadelphia, home to the corner of Cottman and Frankford Avenues — a scene of past post-victory mass gatherings.
Businesses there are being advised to make sure their grates are down Sunday night and that anything outside, such as trash cans and flower pots, is brought inside.
In a letter to the businesses, Capt. Anthony Luca, commander of the 15th District, asked bars to sell alcohol in plastic cups only and refrain from selling takeout bottles.
“The police will be enforcing open-container laws,” Luca said.
No-parking signs will be posted in the area effective from 3 p.m. Sunday through 3 a.m. Monday.
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Luca said police officers will be out in force in the area but had a special request: “If you have cameras, please have them on.”
The weather forecast for Sunday night calls for mostly cloudy skies with a low of 37. There’s a chance of rain after 1 a.m. Monday.