Moments after Monday night’s terror attack on a Ariana Grande concert in England, several concertgoers were to Twitter to suggest that the safety of the site could be tighter.
True or not, the requirement is already asked a number of serious reconsideration of security measures at locations all over the world, especially as the summer season, usually filled with concerts and other large events, is approaching.
“SAFETY IS NOT WELL AT MANCHESTER ARENA, NOBODY WAS CHECKING BAGS OR COATS OR ANYTHING!!!” one person tweeted.
THE SECURITY IS NOT WELL AT MANCHESTER ARENA, NOBODY WAS CHECKING BAGS OR COATS OR ANYTHING!!!
— ☾ellie (@bbewhat_ellie) 22 May 2017
Another Twitter user, who apparently was at the concert, said they weren’t surprised someone was able to record something in the arena. The security was horrific.”
Dawn Waddy, a woman who was present at the concert with her daughter and a friend, told Sky News that the security never checks bags, I never saw check one’s pockets.” Waddy claims that she even yelled at by security after telling them that a woman sitting near her was acting suspicious.
Is there at the concert in Manchester, I’m not surprised that someone was able to record something in the arena. The security was horrible.
— JB (@JoshuaJamesBott) 22 May 2017
In response to the claims of Waddy and others, Fox received a statement attributable to the SMG, which manages the Manchester Arena, which suggests that “[w]hile we cannot comment on our specific security protocols, we will continue to work – as always – with the law enforcement officials to ensure the safety and security of our guests, both inside and outside our company.” In a statement on Twitter, Arena officials pointed out that “[t]he incident took place outside the place in a public space.”
Nevertheless, experts agree that the security procedures at similar locations all over the world are likely to be strengthened as a result of the massacre.
Experts say you can expect visible changes this summer — but don’t give in to the fear
Stuart Varney of the Fox Business Network writes: “this is the start of the concert of the season,” and he is of the opinion that not only was the Manchester attack “definitely temporarily in order to make people think twice about the fact that in the hustle and bustle,” he believes that it is likely “is designed to instill fear in the parents and the family as the summer begins.”
Already, the officials in London of the announcement that there will be more police on the street, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is warning that “the public can have increased security in and around public places and events as officials take additional precautions.” The New York Police Department is deploying extra heavy weapons teams” and specialized K-9 units, and the warning of the increased bag checks at transit hubs.
Manchester terror suspect identified as Salman Abedi
Madison Square Garden, New York City location of almost equal size in the Manchester Arena, is reportedly also increasing the safety measures and the presence of the police. In the wake of the November 2015, attack on the Bataclan concert hall in Paris, promotion giants Live Nation and A. E. G. both announced that they would be stepping up security, but they refused to work on the details.
Michael Balboni, former New York state Homeland Security director who has helped advise on the safety for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center, suggests that this type of change can be good, but it is the will of the people to insist that is the most important.
“We are always reactive to these events, such as the Times Square incident last week with the car,” Balboni said. “All of a sudden the next day, even though this is essentially an incident that had nothing to do with a terror nexus, you can still see the police patrols in the street with vests and heavy weapons… that is what they thought people should.”
But, Balboni added, but people should be vigilant they need to “recognize that this is not the change of their life.”
Finding a balance between security and personal freedom
Balboni suggests two main changes are necessary when it comes to the current security procedures: the Increase of the distance between the security and the location itself, and to ensure that the safety of staff remain on their guard as people leave the event.
“This is not the stop of the security until the event is over and people are on their way home,” Balboni said, something that he admits means “more resources” for both the safety and enforcement of the law.
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When it comes to the perimeter, Balboni argues that “the further out you have the security cordon, the more spread out people are, the less body count you will have, and also you will have more time to spot a potential attacker.”
According to Balboni, “the question then becomes, for the enforcement of the law at any of these locations, how far did you check? What is reasonable?”
Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that “we clearly have to increase security at concerts now,” but he adds that the expansion of the perimeter often leads to a new set of problems.
“It doesn’t matter where you are the security perimeter,” Davis said, “there will be a line that forms, and when that rule is subject to attack.”
Balboni said: there is no way to eliminate the risk, but it can be managed. Still, he admits, “there is nothing you can do to stop a lone wolf suicide bomber walking into a crowd of people.”
“I’ve learned that from actually training with the New York State Police and POLICE officers as they carried out drills with the help of pistols. How quickly you should respond, how it happens in a fraction of a second and you can’t be wrong. You can’t shoot an innocent person just because you think they are acting suspicious, and the bad guy never goes down a single, perfect shot to the head. It does not happen like in the movies.”
In place of the cancel of the summer plans, Balboni simply said “be vigilant, to pay attention to enforcement of the law, and urge and demand your government do everything to keep you safe.”
Additional Reporting provided by Georeen Tanner.