In our last blog we gave a snapshot of security planning considerations for public events in the wake of the Boston bombing.
Today we’re looking at some of the likely outcomes of this tragedy in looking ahead to future events of this variety.
Greater public-private sector collaboration
Boston police forces were out in force for the marathon as usual. Then the bombs hit and the city was rocked for a week with the fall-out of the bombs and the ensuing hunt for suspects, all-but tapping out police resources.
This speaks to the likelihood of more collaboration between police forces and private security firms to add flexible leverage to event-related security.
Such combinations help police increase the operational scope of their security planning and execution. That applies both to the event itself and to non-event related security needs that still have to be met when the race is on.
Increased role for mobile surveillance
Fixed-position CCTV cameras proved to be very valuable in the bombing investigation. Indeed, a camera in a retail store immediately across from the blast sites furnished important images that factored in the investigation.
But the future also holds an expanded role for mobile surveillance.
In reflecting on what happened in Boston, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said he wants to expand the number of mobile cameras in the city.
“We certainly want to talk to the Boston authorities, the FBI, and see what their lessons learned are,” Kelly said in a recent media interview. “We want to be able to put cameras up at certain events, take them down, and put them up to cover other events.”
So the question is when – and not if – more cameras will be employed in major cities around the world.
Officials in Germany are considering that very thing, with their federal Interior Minister saying more cameras would improve security. This is triggering surveillance debates in that country, echoing debates found elsewhere on the topic about the fine balance between surveillance and personal freedoms.
Widespread use of metal detectors
From curb-side spots to open windows in high-rise apartments, public events like marathons have near-endless access points for spectators. Will metal detectors deter future bombs from street-level?
Officials in Moscow are keen to find out. They have already said they will use metal detectors for spectators throughout the 26-mile course.
“The only way to guarantee sufficient security for those coming to watch the races is to install metal detectors along the entire 26.2-mile course,” long-serving Russian athletics chief Valentin Balakhnichyov said in an interview with Eurosport.
“At the same time we don’t want to make Moscow a ghost town. We must make sure that spectators, including foreign guests, are not scared away by overzealous policing.”
Security is always an issue in Moscow. And the fact that the Boston suspects are from the war-torn Chechnya region adds to tensions. Whether metal detectors will come out at other marathons around the world remains to be seen.
We’ll look at social media and security in our next blog, one of the most discussed elements of the Boston investigation.
In short, what role does Instagram have in police investigations?