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Police cope with changing downtown security challenges

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Three major events took place in downtown Indianapolis Friday night: the One Direction concert, Gen Con and an Indians game at Victory Field.

With about 100,000 extra people in a small area, security is a concern.

And how law enforcement keeps the city safe has changed over the years.

The way downtown is secured changes each year due to different lessons police learn from past events.

Gary Coons, the Director of Indianapolis Homeland Security said security also varies by type of event, like the concert at Lucas Oil that brought many young kids downtown.

Along with screaming One Direction fans and their decorated shirts, police uniforms could be found in front of Lucas Oil Stadium and across downtown Indy.

“We’ve seen several cops and some road help to get around the city a little bit,” Laura Roth, a concert attendee, said.

You will be seeing more officers on the streets and you may also find that prize parking spot.

Everyone 24-Hour News 8 talked to said they left enough time and that was key.

Those like Laura Roth who has attended many other events downtown.

“Been to Colts games and other concerts in the past,” she said

She said security seems similar but she has seen more uniformed officers than prior years.

“Maybe a little more than in times past but a good amount still,” she said.

Gary Coons said increasing both uniformed and undercover officers is one way they’ve altered how to keep Indy safe on nights like this.

Coons said his team does reviews after every event and makes adjustments.

He also said the threats these days are very different than five years ago.

“We didn’t have the ISIS threats that are coming across or groups like that talking to people over social media and trying to get them to act,” Coons said.

That’s why he said frequent bag checks at Lucas Oil Stadium and police monitoring activity along sidewalks is extra important these days.

“So that we can check it out to make sure everybody’s safe,” he said.

One man from out of town for Gen Con said he feels safe in Indy compared to other big cities.

“Way better, they know what they’re doing here, it’s a lot of people,” T. Julian Bell, a Gen Con attendee, said.

He feels the city has done a good job in preparing for the masses of people.

“This in any other city with other conventions I’ve been to, they wouldn’t be prepared for it but it seems like they’re doing the right thing,” he said.

Coons said he continues to ask for the public’s support in securing for nights like this, saying its a team effort.