In today’s modern world, security in crowds has never been more important. From devastating tragedies like the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013 to the Paris terrorist attack at a concert in 2015, mass gatherings have become easy targets for dangerous violence. Now is the time to take security matters into our own hands and for each individual to become more aware, reactive, and responsive to potentially dangerous situations in crowds.
THE RISKS OF LARGE CROWDS
It can be incredibly fun to be a part of a big crowd and soak up the celebratory energy that surrounds you. Large gatherings regularly take place for sporting events, concerts, political speeches, activist rallies, graduation ceremonies, and religious holidays.
However, there are a number of high risks also associated with being part of a crowd. Here are some examples:
- Inadequate emergency exit routes
- Use of weapons and bombs
HOW TO BE PREPARED FOR CROWDS
You might not think that there is much you can personally do to counteract the energy of a crowd. But just remember that every action starts with an individual, and you can be the one to influence positive change.
These are some personal actions you can take in the midst of a crowd to prepare yourself for situations that may arise:
- Learn about how the event will run before you attend it
- Check the weather report before you attend an event
- Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all time
- Attend events with other people and pick a meeting point in case of emergency
- Pack your patience for events with crowds and always keep your cool
- Bring hand sanitizer, water, snacks, and any medications you rely on
- Limit your alcohol intake to stay focused and aware
- Secure your belongings to prevent pick-pocketing
LOOK OUT FOR SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY
It can be difficult to identify suspicious behavior in crowds that are pushing, shoving, and exhibiting rowdy behavior. However, large crowds do tend to attract troublemakers, so keep an eye out for anything that looks out of the ordinary. Keep your belongings close to you at all times and report anything that seems suspicious to the security staff or on-site authorities.
THESE ARE SOME TYPES OF SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIORS TO LOOK OUT FOR:
- Surveillance-like behaviors
- Unnecessary use of binoculars
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Strong, unexplained odors
- Someone unusually overdressed for the weather
- Someone spending time in a restricted or authorized area
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