One of major college football’s biggest rivalries kicked off this past weekend when the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes played host to the third-ranked Michigan Wolverines. More than 100,000 fans packed Ohio Stadium to see the game on Saturday afternoon, November 26. In these large-scale events, Jennifer Knight, Columbus Deputy Police Chief, says it’s important to be prepared.
Hundreds of law enforcement personnel were assigned to the stadium and in the areas surrounding the nation’s fourth-largest on-campus facility to help keep people safe. With all the people who attended the game and others showing up to tailgate, it can require extra vigilance to avoid dangerous situations.
Jennifer Knight provides some helpful tips below on how to stay safe if you’re attending a big game.
Have a Plan
It’s important to have a solid plan in place if you are going to attend the game or even just tailgate in the parking lot. Jennifer Knight, Deputy Police Chief, says this should include knowing where you’ll park in advance. If you can, use a shuttle service to avoid the gridlock that’s bound to occur.
You also should consider giving yourself plenty of time to arrive well before the scheduled kickoff time. After the game, you can avoid heavy traffic by planning to do something in the area, such as visiting a local restaurant.
No matter how you’re getting there and getting home, know that it’s inevitable that you’re going to be stuck in traffic. Please be patient and kind to others on the road — even fans of the rival team.
Lock It Up
With so many people in the area, it’s a prime opportunity for thieves to steal your stuff. Make sure to lock your car doors, and don’t leave any valuables in your car. Better yet, leave them at home altogether.
If you’re a student who lives in the area, make sure to lock your house before you leave for the game. Bad actors may try to gain entry into houses they anticipate will be empty during the game.
Obey All Traffic Plans
Jennifer Knight, Columbus Deputy Police Chief, says injuries can occur if people don’t obey all traffic and pedestrian plans. Watch for officers at intersections, and follow whatever instructions they are giving. Pedestrians need to obey all signs and not cross the street except at a crosswalk.
If you are taking a ride share serving to get to the game, make sure they don’t drop you off or pick you up on any main thoroughfares. Instead, use a side street to stay safe.
See Something, Say Something
As in any situation, if you observe criminal or suspicious behavior, you should call the police or advise an officer on-site immediately. Give the best description you can to the officer of the person or people involved. By reporting what you see, you could be preventing a dangerous situation.
Be a Good Fan
Above all else, Jennifer Knight, Deputy Police Chief, says it’s important to enjoy the game and be a good fan. While you might not like the fans of your rival’s team, treat them with respect and dignity.
About Jennifer Knight
Jennifer Knight, Deputy Police Chief in Columbus, Ohio, is known for dynamic leadership, innovative community engagement, and excellence in the field of law enforcement. After earning her Juris Doctor, she received the National Women’s Law Association Award of Excellence. Ms. Knight is a strong advocate for women in law enforcement and is a passionate community volunteer.