Event Security Tips to Keep Your Guests Safe

Posted By Admin On 04 Jun 2021

1. Assess Your Security Risks

In terms of security, different events don’t have different needs. A politician’s campaign speech has a much higher risk than, say, a twelve-year-old’s birthday party.

Your first step is to decide what type of risk you’re dealing with. Here are some things to consider:

  • Who is hosting your event? Are they a target for any individual or group?
  • Who is attending your event? Do they attract controversy?
  • What is the context of the event? Does its topic or subtopics invite security problems?
  • Who is speaking, performing, or exhibiting at the event? Do they attract agitators or present any unique security risks?
  • Do you expect protests or counter-protests?
  • Will any media be present? (A larger audience sometimes encourages agitators).
  • Does the venue have any security vulnerabilities? For instance, an outdoor venue is harder to secure but an indoor venue has fewer escape routes.
  • Does the location have non-human security threats (like a highway in close proximity, the chance of flood in the area, or wild animals roaming nearby)?

2. Keep Your Security Measures Visible

The main goal of security isn’t to respond to threats. The goal is to prevent threats from happening in the first place. It’s best if a potential agitator sees your security measures and moves on.

This is why hiding your security team or putting them undercover throughout your event does more harm than good. Agitators think the event is unprotected and may decide to start trouble.
In one case, an event organizer placed metal detectors at the entrances to the event but hid them with clever décor. The result was an abnormally high number of people attempting to enter with weapons. When they uncovered the metal detectors for the next day, fewer people tried to enter with prohibited items.

By making your security team and devices obvious, you also make your attendees feel safer. They know you’ve enlisted the help of people and tools to protect their wellbeing. In the event of an emergency, they know where to find help.

3. Create Security Checkpoints

One of the key ways to protect people from security threats is to set up checkpoints away from the gathering that attendees must pass through to get inside. This forces agitators to confront security personnel (or even just your registration staff) long before they can cause any damage.

For instance, instead of installing your registration desk right outside an auditorium’s doorway, you would want to place it a few hundred feet away in the facility’s lobby. This way if an uninvited person tries to enter, they’ll be stopped before they reach the crowd.

4. Match IDs to Registration Information

To make sure people who attend the event actually belong there, it’s important to collect identifying information in advance when they register. Collect multiple data points – like name, date of birth, and address (or similar) – to make it harder for an intruder to assume someone’s identity.

Ideally, you’d want to require each guest to send you a copy of their ID so you can compare it to their ID at the gate. That’s the best way to confirm identifies, but it’s not always feasible. However, if someone fails to bring an ID or their ID doesn’t match your registration information, it’s best not to let them in.

If you don’t require registration to attend your event (meaning they haven’t been pre-screened), you must check their belongings. “I suggest [using] magnetometers wherever applicable,” says Anthony Davis, president of AD Entertainment Services. “Sometimes that’s a challenge due to power. Then, you go to a hand-held metal detector wand. And then lastly, if none of those things are available, you do a bag check.”

5. Keep Private Events Private

Some organizations like to announce their events publically, even if the events aren’t open to the public. They mention their events on websites, in newsletters, in press releases, and on social media. We know you’re proud of your event, but informing the public about an event is a security risk.

For instance, a dinner for a company’s upper management isn’t open to everyone, so there’s no need to tell everyone. If agitators don’t know about the event, they can’t disrupt it or cause anyone harm.

“Unless the event is open to the public, it’s a good idea to keep private events as secret as possible,” says Martin Kirsten, founder of Suits Security. “This is especially important for companies that might operate in an industry that has politically charged opponents.”