Hiring armed event security is a judgment call based on several key factors. These include the nature of the event itself, the profile of any guests attending, and the classification of the crowd. Further contributing to the assessment are the event’s location and if any such gatherings have been compromised before.
The sad truth is that 2020 was one of our nation’s most violent years in decades, as the nature (and volatility) of public gatherings has been increasingly influenced by ongoing economic, health, and political concerns. This guide will spotlight the risks that events can face, how organizers can better decide which security is best, and who you can call for the best in protection.
The Basics of Event Security
Event security involves the assessment of a site for potential vulnerabilities, the drafting of an action plan, and the execution of that plan by experienced personnel. The intent is to keep people and property safe, a focus that becomes intensified if the guest is a high-level VIP, celebrity, political figure, or other important individual. When high-profile guests are present, people tend to become anxious if security isn’t adjusted to fit the situation.
Many events thus opt for unarmed security, as it provides a sense of comfort and control without the visible presence of weapons. Various kinds go smoothly with an unarmed security presence in attendance, and in an ideal world, every event would. Times are changing, however, and raising every event’s risk profile in the process.
How Worst-Case-Scenario Thinking Can Make a Positive Difference
With event risks so elevated, armed event security is an organizer’s strongest possible insurance against the worst outcome. Entertaining negative possibilities can become the very thing that prevents them. Any event organizer should consider the following facts:
1. Mass Shootings Are on the Rise
America endured 611 mass shootings in 2020, leaving 2,543 injured and 513 dead. This year is not a quarter gone, but there has already been 80 mass shootings. Armed incidents are on the rise, and organizational awareness of their potential at any event must also increase.
2. More Civilians Are Arming Themselves
Even events with metal detectors can be circumvented by determined shooters. Americans purchased a record number of firearms in 2020 and have continued the trend in 2021. This increases the likelihood that anyone at an event could be armed.
3. Civil Unrest Is Increasing
Armed confrontations between citizens and police are just one of the factors that made 2020 a record year for civil unrest in America. Political and social polarization can quickly turn even the most neutral of events into a hostile environment.
These facts mean that events must be more effectively monitored, whether crowds are large or small. Every potential risk factor must be accounted for. Here are some best practices to use when starting out on a security plan.
7 Ways to Approach Event Security
Securing your event is more than just a job – it’s also an obligation. Attendees expect nothing less than a completely safe environment when they decide to attend an event. The following key factors will help you select the most effective security configuration:
1. Consider Things From an Insurance Perspective
Some security incidents result in damage to people and property, leading to insurance claims and potential litigation. Event organizers must select only the most experienced and cool-headed security teams. These agents operate with full knowledge of the law and proper security procedures to de-escalate situations wherever possible and avoid unnecessary drama – or worse.
2. Assess Whether Your Event May Attract Criminals
Events that involve money, expensive jewelry, artwork, or other costly items could benefit from the presence of professional armed security. It is highly unlikely that anyone robbing an event will be deterred by unarmed security.
3. Consider Whether Your Event May Attract Activism
Activism in America has rarely made so many headlines. VIPs such as celebrities, dignitaries, CEOs, and other high-net-worth executives can be targeted at an event for being on the “wrong” side of an issue. This makes effective executive protection a must.
4. Evaluate Some Decisive Security Factors
Event size and crowd capacity play crucial roles in the decision to have armed or unarmed security. You also need to think about the time of day and type of crowd you expect. It is probably better to have armed guards if you believe attendees might become drunk or unruly.
5. Ask Your Guests About Their Security Preferences
Comfort is a relative term, depending on your audience. Some may like to see an armed presence on-site for their peace of mind. Reach out to attendees before an event to gauge their preference and adjust your security measures accordingly.
6. Remember That Armed Security Needn’t Mean Alarmed Guests
The best of both worlds – a relaxed crowd and an optimal security force – is possible. Armed event security can be as inconspicuous as it is effective, blending seamlessly with a crowd while providing advanced protection. This should be seriously considered as an option in today’s unpredictable social climate.
7. Combine Video Surveillance With On-Site Agents
Events are typically held in public spaces that are often of significant size. Security personnel – armed or unarmed – greatly benefit from the addition of superior video surveillance equipment. This technology offers many benefits, including advanced warning for on-site agents, greater crowd supervision, and off-site monitoring by video surveillance agents who can quickly alert authorities and emergency responders.
Taking these seven steps will help you select the right kind of security force to make your event the greatest success possible. Erring on the side of caution is always the most sensible approach, a best practice that is furthered by seriously considering some further potential risks.
What Having Insufficient Security Means
Not hiring security invites trouble. Hiring the wrong kind may do more harm than good. Bear the following in mind when you’re responsible for security decisions, so you can make your event memorable for the right reasons:
- Neglecting to hire professional armed security for a high-profile event leaves it at the mercy of potential hostiles who may be armed themselves.
- Not all security teams make the grade. Some agents may be under-trained or overzealous, resulting in inept performance or unnecessary escalation (both of which could cost lives).
- Event security personnel both armed and unarmed need to be thoroughly vetted before deployment. Failure to conduct in-depth background checks could place unqualified or dangerous individuals into security positions.
- Event organizers may lose future opportunities and risk insurance and legal trouble if security was not all it should have been.
The issues above represent real threats that could happen to any event. Speaking with an experienced and dedicated security team is the best way to safeguard an event. Let SMART Security Pros assess every factor and recommend the right course of action for you.
Get Expert Help With Your Event Security Questions
Event security is a critical responsibility that requires deep consideration, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. Our seasoned team can walk you through the entire process, drafting a tailored security solution and providing the best armed or unarmed personnel. Contact SMART Security Pros with any questions and speak with an expert today.