For the 2012 season, security at O.co Coliseum and other NFL venues has been tightened. Oakland Raiders fans entering the stadium now must allow security workers to wave hand-held metal detectorsover them and have their bags searched.
But don’t let the new security procedures give you a false sense of security. You’ve still got to watch out for yourself, just as you would in any setting with big crowds.
Courtesy of the Oakland Raiders and a Bay Area group called Fans Against Violence, here are some tips on how to stay safe while tailgating at the Coliseum.
- Make sure your cellphone is completely charged.
- Leave weapons at home. The Raiders prohibit them.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Don’t wander around alone. Hang out with at least one buddy.
- Drink responsibly.
- If you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a potentially dangerous situation, walk away and notify Coliseum security.
- If you notice a fellow tailgater is in trouble, contact Coliseum security.
- If a nearby tailgater is being disruptive or threatening, don’t enter the fray. Contact Coliseum security and let the pros handle it.
- Be respectful of other fans no matter who they’re rooting for.
Beginning with the 2012 season, the Raiders teamed up with Fans Against Violence to promote a family friendly environment at the Coliseum.
A key to the effort is a new program called FanShake. At the Coliseum, FanShake encourages fans of rival teams to snap photos of themselves interacting peacefully with each other and then post them on Facebook, Twitter and Raiders.com. Via the FanShake Cam, fan-bonding moments are videotaped and shown inside the Coliseum.
The FanShake program debuted in September at a Raiders home game against the San Diego Chargers.
Longtime Raiders fan Kathy Samoun founded the nonprofit Fans Against Violence to promote friendly rivalries at professional and amateur sporting events. The group was founded in the wake of two high-profile fan flare-ups in 2011 – the beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow at a Los Angeles Dodgers game and the violence that erupted at a game between the Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers.
“We believe that attending sporting events is an act of fellowship and community between fans,” the fan group says, “and that each person who attends a professional sporting event should feel safe and be protected by the hosting facility and franchise.”
On its website, Fans Against Violence also dispels myths about supporters of the Silver and Black.
“We know the stereotypes and we know the resistance that is met when we identify ourselves as part of Raider Nation. So yes, we do own computers and we have jobs and/or are students,” says the group, referring to its members. “We’ve never been to jail; none of us have records. Not a neck tattoo in the bunch. We don’t drink too much at games or start fights. Some of us are parents, good ones at that, and we all donate time and/or money to local causes. Like most Raider fans, we’re good, decent people.”
Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.
John Egan is a freelance writer covering all things Oakland. His work can be found on Examiner.com.