Manchester, Paris, Orlando, Barcelona, and now Las Vegas – just a few of the cities where a night of fun became a nightmare. In recent years, it’s become more common for entertainment venues, from large arenas to smaller stages to dance clubs to movie theaters to pedestrian promenades, to become targets. This is our new normal.
These tragic events, though, are also an opportunity to learn. A variety of issues make securing stadiums and smaller venues especially challenging. With hindsight and new solutions, it’s possible to take steps to make future events more secure.
If anyone has attended a concert or sporting event in a large arena, there’s an expectation that there will be metal detectors and bag checks, if bags are even allowed. Although most attendees find it routine, the pace of the process has to find a balance between crowd control, security, and inconvenience.
It’s that last item that’s often a stumbling block on how entertainment venues should proceed during a time when they seem to be in the crosshairs of the big four:
While the top priority is to keep people safe, there’s another one jockeying for first place – to not create delays for attendees to have their fun.
What makes security a tough issue for larger spaces is the number of people who enter at all times during the day and the number of entry and exit points. Prior to a concert, for example, there are equipment deliveries, roadies setting up the stage, sound checks, maybe a quick run-through with the headlining act, press, etc. That’s a lot of people before the throngs even arrive.
Then comes the show, with audience members buying concessions, looking for bathrooms, and wandering around to find a way backstage. Finally, there is the exit. After the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, security experts observed that exiting – a chaotic moment when everyone leaves at once – is an opportunity for terror.
While there are many ideas on how to improve security for stadiums and arenas, smaller venues like dance clubs, small stages, bars, and movie theaters face a specific challenge. Because of their smaller size, they often have small budgets, and so they are unable to afford all of the bells and whistles. In many ways, this makes them an easy target, as was seen in Bataclan concert hall shooting in Paris and the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.
While metal detecting wands are a relatively inexpensive investment, hiring trained personnel to use that equipment can strain budgets. Nevertheless, there are policies and procedures and equipment that both large and small venues should consider when securing their premises.
POM Technologies specializes in providing situation- and site-specific security solutions to entertainment, concert, and sports venues in and around New York and New Jersey. Through the use of integrated security technologies, including streamlined visitor management, electronic ticketing, and site-wide communication and monitoring, our goal is control and visibility.