Violence at college and Professional sporting events has been on the increase in recent years but, the incident on August 24, 2011 that ended with 2 fans shot and another serious beaten has brought home the need to curb this escalating violence that is occurring.
While overenthusiastic fans and bad behavior isn’t new to sporting events the increasing number of occurrences is. With tailgating parties starting earlier and more alcohol being consumed controlling such violence in a stadium packed with thousands of people has become a nightmare. Patrols at these games need to be more visible but, with their limited resources they simply can’t be everywhere. So, can increasing video surveillance at these events help curb this escalating violence?
Colleges seem to feel that it can. Since 2009 colleges have been instituting a system where they combine text messaging alert systems with video surveillance to help the police do their job at sporting events. When a fan sees inappropriate or dangerous behavior they can send a text alerting authorities in the press box of the developing situation. The person in the press box then tunes into the video surveillance camera nearest the incident and if they see trouble brewing then campus security or police can immediately take care of the incident. By texting the reporting fan doesn’t become embroiled in what could turn into a dangerous situation and authorities have a better chance of heading off potential violence.
While no one can say for sure that such a system would have prevented the shooting at the Raider-49′s pre-season game, such a system would have certainly increased the chances of preventing such a tragedy. Pro Sports brings in a lot of money, a good share of it from fans so protecting them should be a top priority. Professional stadiums need to seriously consider installing more security and video surveillance equipment in their parking lots to keep an eye on tailgating activities, at the gates to help stop obviously drunk and disorderly fans from entering the game, and in the stadium it’s self. Adding a text messaging alert system can help circulating patrols pinpoint problems before they become serious.
While other measures such as curbing drinking needs to be undertaken, video surveillance may be the key to preventing this cycle of violence or at least reducing it. If something isn’t done soon, fans may decide to stay home where they can watch the sports action from the safety of their homes instead of facing the dangerous alternative of seeing a game live.
Many people are calling for team owners and stadium officials to step up and put safety measures in place that would protect those fans who simply want to see their team live and cheer them on. Video surveillance, text messaging alerts, is one way that those who run these sporting events can become more pro-active at making attendance at sporting events safer for all fans.