Using Crowdsourcing to Secure Events

Deployment of a reporting app can vastly increase situational awareness, responsiveness

Sheryl Maas photo
Sheryl Pinckney-Maas is the CEO of Guardian Zone.

Now that the event industry has rebounded from the COVID-related downturn, the landscape of in-person events has changed significantly.

Festivals, sporting events, concerts, exhibitions and conferences all look and feel much different than they did before the pandemic.

Not to mention that horrific instances of mass violence have become all too familiar.

With all of this in mind, it is vital that event security teams take advantage of every available tool to keep attendees safe.

What “Safety” Means to Event Attendees

Potential threats related to attending large events are not limited to gun violence. Fights, thefts, alcohol and drug abuse, crowd surges, sexual assault and medical emergencies remain persistent problems for sports arenas, concert venues and convention centers alike.

Implementing security measures to keep event attendees safe must follow a holistic approach. If security personnel do not have the ability to communicate directly with fans in real time, they will most likely be unable to intervene and stop an incident in a timely manner.

The Shortcomings of Traditional Security Technology

Many venues still suffer from fundamental problems related to limited security staff and uncoordinated crisis response. For example, facilities that deploy surveillance cameras as a standalone solution might still find themselves unprepared to address events quickly, as not all surveillance systems are continuously manned. Regardless of the number of cameras a venue deploys, if personnel lack the ability to verify reports, communicate with attendees and disseminate mass alerts, security will remain underequipped.

To address emergencies in real time, it is critical that venues integrate crowdsourced intelligence software that gives patrons the ability to share information directly with security personnel so that they can then assemble a complete picture of an incident. Venues must also adopt evidence-based practices, which means taking advantage of available data and research findings to help make informed decisions on resource allocation.

Integrating real-time, two-way communication capabilities between security staff and event attendees acts as a force multiplier without requiring additional personnel. Individuals attending conferences, festivals or games simply download a free, easy-to-use app through which they can provide critical intelligence.

The Benefits of Cloud-Based, Geofenced, Crowdsourced Intelligence

Using crowdsourced intelligence takes the guesswork out of keeping individuals safe, putting power in the hands of the people who need it most and equipping security personnel with something they often lack – resources.

In addition, because crowdsourced intelligence platforms rely on cloud-based software, integrating them into existing security systems does not require a major overhaul. For event security accustomed to operating on traditional systems, folding crowdsourced intelligence into an emergency operations plan better equips them to do their jobs without forcing them to learn an entirely new system.

With a crowdsourced intelligence platform, event staff can tailor security to their needs using agnostic, customizable geofencing technology to extend their perimeter into surrounding parking lots and neighborhoods, not only broadening a security team’s footprint, but also protecting patrons well before they arrive. It is a tool that offers peace of mind to community members and fans alike.

Key Takeaways

Much like how navigation apps crowdsource traffic information, event security can leverage critical information from thousands of attendees. Equipped with a cloud-based platform built on insights from evidence-based research, venue personnel can enhance their responsiveness and effectiveness by putting tools in the hands of every spectator and showing them that their safety and security is a top priority.