The number of Americans less willing to attend large events because of terrorism is rising to record levels, according to a recent Gallop poll. Increased security can change their view.
Thirty-eight percent of U.S. adults say the threat of terrorism makes them less willing to attend events where there are thousands of people, according to a new Gallup poll. The number represents the highest level recorded since Gallup began asking the question after 9/11. The poll also shows that the majority of Americans trust that government and authorities will protect them.
Overall, said Gallup, Americans largely trust in the government’s ability to protect them from terrorism, with 7 in 10 saying they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in authorities to do so. Therefore, according to Gallup, strong public security presence at large events may serve to calm Americans’ fears of potential attacks at these locations and decrease Americans’ desire to avoid them.
Having attended two recent events with thousands of people, there is truth in Gallop’s comment about the importance of a strong public security presence. No one stayed away, no one had fear, and it is thanks to the security and law enforcement in place at The Dead & Company concert in Citi Field, NY, and the NYC Gay Pride Parade in Manhattan.
After a May 31 Hollywood Bowl, CA, performance was briefly interrupted while on-site authorities investigated an unfounded bomb threat that was called in during the concert and in the wake of the May 22 bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, heightened security was very noticeable for the Dead & Company’s June 24th concert at Mets’ Citi Field in Queens, NY. Before the concert, the stadium sent out an e-mail to ticketholders with information about enhanced security measures, prohibited items and guidelines to get fans “ready to rock Citi Field.”
Concertgoers had no problem waiting on line at the entrances to the venue while security screened each person one at a time with handheld scanning metal detector wands. Security personnel and law enforcement were also well on hand among the many tailgaters outside the venue perimeter, which is considered a soft target.
Security has been increased at many soft targets in NYC following recent terrorist attacks. A similar scene played out the next day at the NYC Pride March on Sunday, June 25, 2017. Thousands participated and millions attended the annual New York City Gay Pride Parade, one of the oldest and largest in the world. From 36th Street and Fifth Avenue down to the West Village, packed floats, spectators, and marchers wound through the streets of Manhattan guarded by a huge contingency of New York City’s finest, NYPD, out in full force.
Memories of other terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, including the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando may be what is contributing to Americans’ fears, according to the Gallop poll. As more time passes without an attack, however, the numbers dip and clearly, increased security can make that happen.
Immediately after 9/11, 30% of Americans were reluctant to attend crowded events said Gallop. That level of concern persisted throughout the first year after those attacks but dipped in polls conducted 5 years and 10 years later—to 23% and 27%, respectively. At 27%, July 2011 was the last time Gallup asked the question before this year.