Event Security Tips to Minimize Your Risk

With domestic terrorism on the rise, event security is more important than ever. You need to take the appropriate steps to keep your attendees, vendors, and speakers or performers safe, so everyone can have a good time and get the most out of your event.

You need to make sure you know the venue and its vulnerabilities and assess the risks specific to your event. Make sure attendees, and potential troublemakers, can see security precautions in place. Screen people and their belongings for potential weapons, and know who your attendees are. Don’t advertise events unless they are open to the public, and make sure you vet your staff to make sure they’re not going to cause any trouble from the inside.

Familiarize Yourself with the Venue

How many ways are there for someone to get into your venue? The more potential entrances your venue has, the more vulnerable it could be to infiltration. Potential points of entry aren’t just doors; they could also be windows that are low to the ground and could be opened, for example. Make sure you know where your venue’s potential security weaknesses are and that security staff are aware of them and are monitoring them.

Assess the Risks Specific to Your Event

Who is speaking or performing at your event? Could they be a target for an individual or group? Could the attendees attract controversy? Could there be counter-protestors? Might the media be present? Is there a potential for non-human threats, like wild animals or flooding? Assessing the kinds of risks your event will face can help you decide exactly what kinds of security precautions you should take.

Make Security Obvious

If someone is considering attending your event to make trouble, they might think again after seeing that you take security seriously. For example, seeing a metal detector and bag search checkpoint could deter potential troublemakers from bringing in weapons. Even if visible security features do not deter all potential bad actors, they can make it easier for attendees to seek help if something happens. If security is obvious, people in need of help will know who to go to and where to find them.

Use Checkpoints to Keep Out Troublemakers

Requiring everyone to pass through a security checkpoint to get into an event can force those with bad intentions to confront security personnel before they ever get close to the event. Put your security checkpoints a few hundred feet away from the crowded main areas. Make sure your checkpoints look like checkpoints – if you try to disguise them, you’ll get more people trying to bring in contraband.

Identify Your Attendees

You should know who’s coming into your event and know that they’re entitled to be there. Collect identifying information from attendees when they sign up for the event and buy tickets. You can even collect a copy of each attendee’s identification to compare to their real ID when they come to the event. At the very least, give your event attendees custom event wristbands so it’ll be easy to tell who belongs in the event and who doesn’t (and who is and is not old enough to drink). 

Keep Private Events on a Need-to-Know Basis

You don’t need to publicize every event. You should only advertise events that are open to the public, but keep private events private. You don’t need the whole city to know about a private birthday dinner for an important public figure, for example. The fewer people know about an event, the less risk you’ll face. Agitators can’t target events they don’t know about. 

Know Your Staff

Unfortunately, threats to event security often come from the staff itself. You need to take the time to background check your event staff to make sure they don’t pose a threat to your event security. Run credit checks on staff members who might be responsible for handling large amounts of money. 

Introduce your staff members to one another, so they’ll be able to suss out anyone who enters the event posing as staff. Give staff members an identifier – a wrist band, t-shirt, or hand stamp. Build strong relationships with vendors – you can background check your own staff, but you can’t background check your vendors’ staff. You need to work with vendors you know you can trust.

Event security is a big deal. Take it seriously, and don’t let your next event become another news headline. Keep everyone safe, and enjoy your event as well as all the events to come!