In preparation for the Super Bowl, which will be held in Houston on Sunday, Feb. 5, the Texas Department of Public Safety is asking Texans and visitors to remain aware of their surroundings and to stay vigilant regarding potential criminal activity. If someone observes suspicious behaviors or activity, they are urged to report it to iwatchhouston.org or to local authorities. DPS is offering other tips for staying safe during Super Bowl celebrations, as large-scale events may increase the potential for impaired or distracted drivers on the roadway and property crimes, such as auto burglaries or thefts.
According to the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, the city of Houston is expecting approximately 140,000 out-of-town visitors for the Super Bowl and as many as one million fans to attend National Football League related events in downtown Houston leading up to game day.
“As Houston welcomes many thousands of visitors for the Super Bowl, the department is urging area residents as well as visiting fans to always be aware of their surroundings and to report any illegal or suspicious activity they may encounter,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “While fans may differ on which team they support, we’re asking everyone to come together on one important issue – to celebrate responsibly. By taking a few simple steps, all fans can help protect against potential threats to public safety.”
DPS urges residents who see something unusual to simply speak up. Criminal activity and preparations for terrorist attacks may often be seen, but rarely reported. Examples of suspicious activity may include a briefcase, suitcase, backpack or package left behind; chemical smells or fumes that are unusual for the location; or people taking photographs or videos specifically of security features, such as surveillance cameras or checkpoints.
When in doubt concerned individuals can report suspicious activity at iwatchhouston.org or call 1-855-iwatch4 (1-855-492-8244). If a situation requires an emergency response, call 911 immediately.
DPS offers the following tips for safe travel during the Super Bowl:
- Don’t drink and drive. Designate a driver or take alternate transportation.
- Slow down – especially in heavy traffic or near event areas where crowds may gather.
- Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices.
- Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it’s the law.
- Slow down or move over for police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks that are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated – it’s the law. Also, show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along the road.
- Drive defensively, as traffic congestion may present additional challenges.
- Know or plan your route before leaving the house.
DPS offers the following tips to help protect against vehicle theft and burglary:
- Never leave your car running unattended, even for a quick visit to a business or store.
- Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is parked at your home.
- When possible, always park in high-traffic, well-lighted areas.
- Install an anti-theft device that locks the steering wheel, column or brakes, especially if your vehicle is considered to be at increased risk for theft.
- Always keep valuables or property hidden out of sight or locked in the trunk.
If your vehicle is stolen, report it to the police immediately. DPS also encourages individuals to keep a copy of their license plate and vehicle identification number on hand in case of theft, since law enforcement will need this information to create a report.