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Police, Panthers remind fans to be on lookout


CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department in conjunction with the Carolina Panthers is working to make sure fans' playoff fever isn't dashed.

"This is an exciting time for Carolina Panthers fans and around the City of Charlotte," CMPD Major Johnny Jennings said. "With this excitement and because of the playoffs, it creates opportunities for criminals to come into play."

As has been the case with Panthers home games since the Paris attacks in November, Sunday's NFC Divisional Playoff against the Seattle Seahawks has been declared an "extraordinary event" by the city.

"People can expect to see officers in numbers, on foot, in different types of vehicles and watching from the air," CMPD Deputy Chief Jeff Estes said. "With our good partners from the Panthers organization; we provide a seamless security presence in our view."

A long list of items are prohibited from an extraordinary event, though Estes said common sense is applied to the fact that this is a football game.

"Things that you would say, 'That's not a good idea to bring,' it's prohibited," Estes said.

Another common concern that becomes more prevalent during the playoffs is the selling of counterfeit tickets. Jennings recommended that fans only purchase tickets from official outlet Ticketmaster but had suggestions for fans who do purchase from an independent broker.

The police department recommends recording personal identifying information about the seller, including taking a cell phone photo if possible, and noting the location of the seller to help police if the tickets prove fake. Even better, Jennings suggested fans ask the seller to escort them to the Bank of America Stadium gate and not pay for the tickets until they are successfully scanned.

"The technology to duplicate tickets right now is so great that you can hardly tell," Jennings said. "We want to make sure the fan experience is great. We don't like to see fans get turned away after spending their hard-earned money."

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