UK bombing: Heightened security at Air Canada Centre
By: Analia Sordi & Fareah Islam
In the wake of a deadly attack in Manchester, England, concert venue security is a major concern worldwide.
At least 22 people have been reported killed and 59 hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after an attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on Monday night. The suicide bomber died in the explosion, but an ongoing police investigation has led to the arrest of a 23-year-old man.
Local U.K. arenas in Sheffield and Leeds have heightened security procedures for any potential threats.
The attack has also led to immediate actions in the U.S., with the Department of Homeland Security stating the public may experience an increase in security. John Legend was performing at the Verizon Theatre in Texas when the attacked happened, which led to a higher police presence at that venue.
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service has not made an official announcement on increased nationwide security levels.
A statement was released by Prime Minister Trudeau saying that he is “devastated” by the attack, and on behalf of all Canadians sends condolences to the families and friends of the victims.
“With our allies and partners, we will continue to counter such senseless acts and to fight terrorism in its many forms. We will do all that we can to assist British authorities in bringing those responsible to justice,” said Trudeau.
“Terrorism is always a possibility in metropolitan and multicultural cities like Toronto. Absolute security is not possible,” said Alexandra Orlova, expert in international terrorism and Associate Professor at Ryerson University.
In a small survey conducted at Humber College North Campus, 78 per cent of students say they are now worried about their safety at concerts.
“These attacks just make me think twice about going to concerts in the future,” said Carolina Morales, a Cosmetic Management student at Humber.
The stress around similar attacks continue as a Business Administration student explained that his friend was stabbed at the Caribbana festival.
“Big events have become dangerous over the years, and not attending has become my choice,” he said.
A sold-out concert by Toronto hip-hop star The Weeknd at the Air Canada Centre this Friday evening is raising concerns about security.
A spokesperson for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment said there will be increased security at the ACC.
“We are continuing communications with law enforcement and we follow the best practices with security management based on the international landscape,” said the MLSE spokesperson.
He reiterated that MLSE venues will continue to work with the local police to ensure safety during events.
“We shouldn’t change our day to day actions in response to these terrorist attacks,” said Orlovo. “The point is not to live life differently and succumb to fear.”
No further specific details were provided on security protocols at local entertainment venues but Toronto Police Media Relations Officer, Caroline de Kloet said, “We have people who work around the clock assessing any possible threats to Toronto’s public safety, and we adjust our security arrangements whenever necessary.”