How real are the threats to events and public places, especially since protests are increasing again?
Many people ask me about event safety, so here are some things I do. It doesn’t matter if I’m looking for a story, pre-planning, or threat assessment.
Social media is a love-hate relationship.
I check Twitter or Instagram first because the groups causing problems use social media to post what they are doing like it’s a trophy they won.
I search for cities and events on Twitter (Chicago, Times Square, etc.). Then, some basic generic terms: Protester, riot, crowd, police, activist.
Next search for specific terms depending on world events: Palestine, airport, and interstate are examples. When you use Twitter sort posts by “latest” and “top” so you can see the most up-to-date Tweets.
I prefer videos and photos because “protestors” share everything they do but question all of it because there is always misleading information.
There are many articles on crowd safety. However, here are a few highlights others can build on:
- I prefer being near the crowd’s perimeter since you’re less likely to get stuck.
- Dress down and blend in. Wear comfortable shoes that you can run in.
- Sometimes, it’s best to hold tight and let everyone else scatter. There’s nothing wrong with ducking into a building to get off the street.
- I download venue layouts and maps before leaving home because cell sites may be overwhelmed, and I frequently carry a small external battery pack.
- In case your group gets separated, have a spot to meet. Consider a backup location because the first one might be inaccessible.
- I leave about 30 minutes before the event is over to beat the rush and prefer Uber or Lyft instead of driving.
- There isn’t enough time to cover all the scenarios, so the main point is to always be thinking outside the box.
If you carry, do it responsibly, and don’t be drinking. I carry an Enigma AIWB because it gives me more control over my firearm, especially in a crowded environment.
Remember to pay attention to what’s happening around you and say something if you see something. It’s better to be safe than sorry. You can choose to be part of the solution or possibly be a victim.
Enjoy yourself, and don’t worry about the sky falling. It is what it is, so go have fun.