All-star safety considerations for the big game

By Scott Dunn


While law enforcement and security personnel have long standing plans and protocols in place for regularly scheduled sporting events, national one-a-year events, like a championship game, presents a unique set of security challenges.

An influx of fans and players coming into a city creates a prime target for malicious actors and increases the potential for smaller-scale incidents such as fights, people entering the field of play, theft and more. To help ensure safety for all participants, planning for special events must begin well in advance of the date, and law enforcement should be involved very early on in the process. Additionally, technology can be used to augment human resources to make law enforcement more efficient and effective in dealing with potential problems.

Here are a few key considerations when planning the safety and operations of a large event:

The need for strong partnerships

Communication is a key part of safety, especially when dealing with large crowds of people across a wide-spread area that requires communication to both local and federal agencies. This is where a strong public-private partnership can make all the difference. Access to local businesses surveillance footage and security systems allows city officials and law enforcement to have faster response times, improved communication and better overall safety and security. The need for safety during a large event expands far beyond the stadium or venue it takes place in. Communication with stakeholders and city officials during every step of planning can help get everyone on the same page whether its physical security technology or security personnel for improved safety.

Rely on your security basics

The crux of safety and security is the technology in place helping to keep everyone safe. Video surveillance is the primary technology used inside and around stadiums to monitor crowds and restricted areas. Not only is it used to deter visitors from committing crimes, it is important to provide situational awareness, which can help improve response time in the event of an emergency.  Additionally, it can be used after an incident to provide the forensic information needed to help law enforcement identifying people involved or as a way to get a better view of the situation.

When it comes to the safety of the big event, the ever-growing perimeter is the main focus. For stadiums surrounded by residential areas, shops or restaurants it is important to get everyone involved. This influx of visitors doesn’t only affect the stadium itself, but largely impacts those surrounding areas. With the necessary heightened security in the area often comes restricted traffic flow – a problem cities need to be prepared for. Implementing smart traffic technologies with capabilities that can detect incidents can help speed up law enforcements response to an event helping to clear out traffic jams faster.

Determine if interconnectivity is possible

Data is a strong tool and essential to helping keep stadiums and their surrounding cities safe. Having each security solution and department communicating with each other is the goal; unfortunately, with many different organizations involved, not all the systems are compatible with one another. Stadium security personnel should consider the technology implemented in its city when deciding on upgrades to their own technology.

While there is still work to be done to create seamless interconnectivity, communication and data sharing between systems and technology, we will begin to see more high-tech solutions being integrated in the future. This includes advanced video surveillance from multiple sources, including venues and traffic cameras, being fed directly into first responder vehicles and a fully integrated security operations center.

A successful security plan for large events is more than just security technology. It is the combination of advanced technology and best practices for public-private partnerships between various stakeholders.


Scott Dunn is the senior director of business development solutions and services at Axis Communications, a manufacturer of network security and surveillance cameras.



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