By Steven A. Adelman and Peter Tempkins
It used to be that when people heard the pop of an empty water bottle being stepped on, they figured that someone had stepped on an empty water bottle.
These days, though, expectations can be different. Many of the 60,000 people attending New York’s Global Citizen Festival in Central Park in 2018 thought it sounded like gunfire. Memories of the Las Vegas mass shooting almost exactly a year earlier were still fresh. People screamed “Shooter!” A crowd stampede ensued.
Due to the greater frequency of active shooter incidents and the increased coverage of their tragic consequences, it has become reasonably foreseeable that crowds have a heightened expectations, and even anticipation, of violence.
The festival in New York showed us how such expectations can actually become self-fulfilling prophecies. In order to mitigate this new risk, it’s time for the DIM of the widely used “DIM ICE” model for crowd management to be changed to DIME to ensure that crowd expectations are included when planning for live events .
Crowd management professionals now have two issues to rethink as they grapple with the risks and mayhem at live events. First, crowds fleeing in all directions are at risk for a crowd stampede and trample injuries. Second, crowd sensitivity to the possibility of an active shooter event suggests that more, and more visible, security measures will be necessary to keep justifiably fearful patrons from overreacting to innocent sounds and actions.
HUB International’s team of Entertainment Insurance experts are ready to guide you on all the risk considerations that should be factored into planning for any type of production.
Steven A. Adelman is the head of Adelman Law Group, PLLC in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Vice President of the Event Safety Alliance. His practice focuses on safety and security at live sports and entertainment events throughout North America.