Five Security Trends Boosting Event Safety
The five emerging trends revolutionizing community preparedness and large-scale event safety
Written by Andrea Lebron, Rave Mobile Safety
Successfully managing event safety at large community gatherings is critical for public safety officials. Unfortunately, several recent incidents have made the public question their security at large events — forcing public officials to tighten their grip on suspicious activities while balancing the act of keeping a low profile and maintaining the public’s trust.
Thanks to recent advancements in technology and safety resources, five emerging trends are revolutionizing preparedness and safety management at large-scale community events.
1. In the Skies: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones as they’re most commonly known have made their way above the crowds at many community events. So far, nearly 350 state and local police departments and other emergency management divisions have added drones to their event safety inventory and that number is rapidly increasing. Public safety drones give public officials the opportunity to monitor event activities from above and alert on-the-ground staff to investigate any suspicious activity.
2. On the Web: Monitoring social media and dark web activity is becoming an important step in the event safety preparedness checklist. Information found on the web can provide better insight into the potential behavior and intentions of event attendees, especially if the event is focused on sensitive or political topics. It can also help public officials plan ahead to ensure they have enough event safety staff by estimating the total number of attendees listed on social media event pages.
3. From the Crowd: Empowering the public to take ownership of their own safety and of others is critical to safety planning. Communication platforms made available through 2-way anonymous tip texting allow the public to be that extra set of eyes and ears at events. This can also help police covertly diffuse a potentially dangerous situation without causing panic amongst the crowd.
4. Through Mobile Technology: Advancements in mobile technology including cell phones and smart watches have made it possible to communicate with targeted audiences through many different methods. Temporary SMS opt-in systems can be set up for one-time events as what Mackinac County in Michigan did for their annual community event, the Mackinac Bridge Walk. Event attendees can enjoy their activities with the peace of mind knowing they will be immediately informed of any critical incident such as an active shooter or a severe weather-related situation, as well as be instructed on what to do and/or where to go.
5. With Crowd Control Tools: Physical barriers such as temporary barricades are standard equipment at large-scale events and have proven to be effective in events such as Boston’s Free Speech Rally. However, even separation between two opposing groups at a political event can fail, as was the case in Charlottesville, VA. It’s incidents like this that are unfortunately bringing forth new more extreme crowd control technologies that serve both offensive and defensive purposes.
Despite thorough planning, maintaining safety at large events will continue to be a struggle for public officials. By leveraging community relationships and the latest advancements in safety technology, the planning and management process will increase the likelihood of a safe event for all attendees and emergency response officials.