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Security Theater

Discussion in 'Safety' started by bobgaggle, Jun 14, 2019.

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Is security theater worth it?

  1. Yes, Its a deterrent to crime

    1 vote(s)
    10.0%
  2. No, Its a show for sheeple

    6 vote(s)
    60.0%
  3. Maybe, What's the harm?

    3 vote(s)
    30.0%
  4. No, Its a needless violation of privacy

    3 vote(s)
    30.0%
  5. Yes, it makes people feel safe, and feelings trump facts.

    1 vote(s)
    10.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Philadelphia, PA
    I think this has been discussed before, but I went to my first concert in about 7 years and was amazed at how "security" has been ramped up. Had to walk through a metal detector to even get in the building. The guy took 10 seconds to examine my keys, another 10 to look through my wallet?! wtf is going on? I'm gonna be the guy who commits the next mass killing at a concert with a keychain knife? Maybe I've got one of those "survival" cards that slips into a wallet and has a screwdriver and a blade in it? When we were walking to the venue, we passed the alley to the loading dock, guarded by a flimsy barricade and one less than fit man who was busy ogling the female passersby. In most of the arenas/big road houses I've worked at, if you look like you're supposed to be there no one is going to challenge you. And in this industry, all you need is a black shirt and some cargo pants to look like you belong (maybe also a disgruntled demeanor). There's no way its difficult to sneak into these places, especially if you've got a sinister motive...
     
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  2. sk8rsdad

    sk8rsdad Well-Known Member Premium Member Fight Leukemia

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    The survey misses an important option: Yes, it makes my insurance company and/or lawyer happy
     
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  3. BillConnerFASTC

    BillConnerFASTC Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Yup. "I'm with the show...." and I'm in.
     
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  4. Calc

    Calc Active Member

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    I do think it's important to define what Security Theatre is. There are useful applications of some security restrictions that I feel do actually boost safety in some situations. A moderate amount of security will help filter out low-level troublemakers.
    That said, there's nothing you can do to stop someone truly determined to cause damage, and pretending otherwise is mostly a CYA move. Invent a perfect security gate, and they can just attack the line to get in.

    At Venue X I go to the guard station, self identify/cross my name off the list, and get a paper pass that lets me go wherever for the day. I only work there ~10 days a year, so nobody outside the crew recognizes me. It keeps patrons out of the back stage area, but that's it security-wise. Low hassle, low security, but does the intended job.
    Venue Y's corporate owner had an attack on one of their venues a few years back, and rolled out metal detectors afterward. I have keys to the building. I park in the back by the dock, walk through the whole building up to the front, fail the metal detector due to my steel toe shoes, and then get a easily-duplicated paper pass for the day. Security Theatre.
     
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  5. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Location:
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    A university has miles of underground service tunnels throughout their campus. The tunnels distribute natural gas, super heated water (pressurized to keep it from boiling at only 212 Fahrenheit) circulated chilled brine, 3 phase Delta AC at 13.8 and 27.6 KV and high pressure air as well as less hazardous items such as telephone and data cables.
    You wouldn't want to be trapped in the tunnels if / when something failed and sprung a leak. Because of this, wherever the tunnel passes under or next to a building there's a brightly illuminated exit door with an easy to actuate crash bar. If you manage to get yourself to and through a door, it closes behind you and you find yourself in a small secure room with a bench seat to sit or lay on, the mere fact that you've entered any of their secure rooms alerts the campus police and paramedics. Cameras and microphones monitor each room and two way communication asks your identity, if you're injured, why you've escaped the tunnel, yada, yada, etcetera. Each emergency escape door is its own little person-trap and includes bottled water and emergency first aid items. Once you've escaped the tunnels, and let the door close behind you, you're securely trapped until armed campus police come to your aid. I spent months of my apprenticeship in those underground tunnels and always felt safe and secure. On the plus side, no matter the weather above ground it was always pleasant in the tunnels, you doffed your heavy parka or your sunglasses the moment you descended into the tunnels and you spent your shift in the comfy little underground world totally unaware if it was raining or snowing above ground. Every 1/4 mile or so there were massive security gates locked with 9 tumbler locks and monitored by cameras. If you had need to pass through any of the gates you pushed a call button, a campus cop would interrogate you and dispatch a minion to let you through and re-lock the gate behind you.
    EDIT: To add a few more details for Mr. Gaggle and anyone playing along at home.
    @bobgaggle To expound further on the above.
    Each escape room had two doors; one in from the tunnel side and a second door from the basement of the closest building. The doors were interlocked so they couldn't be opened simultaneously. If someone opened the door from a building's side, crash bar be danged, you weren't getting out of the tunnel. Once in the safe room with the tunnel door closed behind you, anyone from the building side could open their door into the safe room.
    One of the safe rooms was INTERESTING, it was part of the basement of the smallest building on campus. Because their basement was so cramped, the denizens of the building had a coin operated warm and cold drink dispensing machine housed in their safe room. As long as the tunnel door was securely closed and latched, anyone from the building could walk in, place a conveniently stored scrap of 2 x 4 in their door, buy a few beverages, and return to their safe and secure little building. During good weather I, as the electrical apprentice, would trot around a tunnel or two taking orders and collecting funds from most of the electrical journeymen prior to heading up to a regularly scheduled coffee truck. The truck had the normal assortment of hot and cold beverages, hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches and condiments plus (secreted under the ice on the other side of the truck) brown bottles of chilled beer and a supply of suitably sized brown paper bags [you had to be a regular customer to know about Larry's secret stash] If the weather was particularly nasty, I took to taking orders for warm and / or cold beverages (but no food) then heading for the escape door leading to the basement of the smallest building on campus. As long as no one from their side had their door open, I could hit the crash bar, stick the 2 x 4 in the tunnel door buy hot and cold beverages and return to the sanctity of the tunnels. If the crash bar wouldn't let me in, I'd wait until the building's residents had vacated and closed their door, then it was my turn. Occasionally I'd be in the room buying ten or a dozen drinks from the machine and someone from the building side would try to gain access and wonder why their door was "stuck". It became a fun little game during ice storms and similarly inclement weather. I'd walk in through the door from the tunnel, put the 2 x 4 in the door, doff my hardhat, wave at the camera, buy my beverages and head back into the tunnels. I think the machine even had warm cups of soup. It was the most popular 'safe room' on the campus. I wonder if the vending machine's operator wondered why his business dropped off drastically when the one or two year tunnel project was completed. Myself, I only spent six or eight months on the tunnel project with an additional couple of months a few years later.
    Thanks for the memories Mr. Gaggle.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
  6. bobgaggle

    bobgaggle Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    That wouldn't be the University of Waterloo would it?
     
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  7. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @bobgaggle No Sir! Neither University of Waterloo nor its immediate neighbor Waterloo Lutheran University, more commonly WLU, although I think I'm recalling a name change some decades back to remove "Lutheran" from their official name.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
  8. tjrobb

    tjrobb Well-Known Member

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    Heh, I remember working in a university about 10 years ago. No active security, if you knew how you could access the tunnels and find yourself in all sorts of fun places. I can't go into details of course, but it isn't a small school.
     
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  9. Mac Hosehead

    Mac Hosehead Well-Known Member

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    Back in olden times, I worked a touring performance of Joffery II with Ron Reagan Jr.. Everyone on stage had to have a previous background check and were given pins to wear. Secret Service agents wandered the theater talking into their shirt cuffs and whatnot. One agent stationed himself near the rear stage door. He carried a bag about the size of a large satchel. Whenever anyone came to the door he would put his bag into a "ready" position.

    The show was uneventful. Ron Jr. was whisked away at the end. We never saw what was in the bag. The speculation was that it was an Uzi.
     
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  10. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Location:
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    I work on the NYS capital campus. Every. Single. Vehicle. that enters out dock has to be screened by NYS police. Each public parking lot has a guard booth that may or may not have a trooper in it inspecting every car that comes in. We routinly have NYS police at events. When the Governor is in or any other high level dignitary we have full sweeps with dogs etc. All of this is setup to deture someone from doing something. Its set up to make sure everyone knows someone is watching. Sure, you could blow right through it if you really wanted to but you know you'll have to do that.

    It also there for the artist and venue protection as well. You don't want "band name" or "venue" + stabbing in any headlines. People won't come to your shows anymore. Wherever mass quantities of liquor is served its always in your best interest to make sure there are not weapons there.

    We tend to never have issues at our venue. We always have security on and by the time people get into our space they have run into at least 2 layers of security. Bit different then a festival in the middle of a field.
     
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  11. RickR

    RickR Well-Known Member

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    Occupation:
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    Our city venues put in scanners a couple of years ago.

    Among the oddities, all staff have venue badges but must go through the very insensitive scanners. Policy is you can then go in and out without scanning. This applies to road crew as well, and they tend to go out to their busses a lot! But locals without show badges are often forced back though if gone more than a few minutes, staff rotation or whatever.

    The county sheriff had an issue with some policies and it sound up as an article I the paper. The official word is that they are refining policies as they go. 3 years later it's still in flux.
     
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  12. RonHebbard

    RonHebbard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    @Mac Hosehead Another TLDR lengthy, multi-chaptered, intertwined tale.
    Chapter 1: Up here north of the walls in Canada we have an appointed representative of the King or Queen known as The Governor General of Canada.
    During the seventies, our Governor General was a large, black, lawyer who looked like he could defend himself. Linc' had been a lawyer in our city for many years and many residents knew Linc' from his law practice. When Mr. Alexander became our Governor General, he was accorded a whole new level of pomp, protocols, additional security and respect. Linc' was also a serious fan of the arts. If Linc' was making an "official" visit the press were notified, all protocols were in place and observed. Some times Linc' only wanted to go out for a night sans all the hype, photographers, guards and pomp. On those nights the buzz would go 'round the headsets and Linc' would often join the crew backstage sitting around the "coffee table" post show sharing a chilled 24 pack from the prop man's fridge. When Linc' wanted a night off, his guardians kept well out of the way; he may have been dropped off by an unmarked car, and the same car may be waiting down the block from our stage door but Mr. Alexander's guardians kept well out of the way.
    Chapter 2: When Canada's Stratford Shakespearean Festival abandoned their huge, seasonal, tent and erected their first serious building in the 1950's, they included a private executive bar adjacent to their main entrance accessible directly by a private door designated as the Queen's entrance. In the private bar were two washrooms. One of the washrooms was designated as the Queen's washroom complete with gold fittings AND a gold toilet seat. Over the years, many people saw the gold seat but no one was ever permitted to urinate, defecate or (Heaven forbid) sit on it. If / when our Governor General was making an "Official" visit she / he was ushered directly into the private lounge via the Queen's entrance but even our Governor General was excluded from utilizing the Queen's private privvy.
    Chapter 3: From the earliest days of the festival, beginning with their inaugural performance, a noisy, percussive, mortar has been fired out across the rear parking lot, over ten feet of grassy park land, landing in the adjacent Avon River. (Over decades the swans got used to it.) Since the very first performance, the mortar has always been fired outside at the precise moment a LARGE bell sounds ONCE inside in the orchestra loft high above the main stage. Since the very first production, EVERY main stage performance has begun this way.
    Once the permanent building was erected, a stage door guard's house was included at parking lot level on the rear of the main building, two mortar launching tubes (the second for redundancy) were installed on the roof of the guard's hut accessed by a 12' section of straight ladder hung 20' away on two hooks on the side of the building and secured by a lock and chain. Immediately upon calling the house lights to half, the SM's next cues were: "Stand by bomb; bomb GO!" The same cue switch that operated the mortar's cue lights also operated a second pair of redundant cue lights next to the bell. A member of the IA house crew loaded, armed and fired the mortar(s) and an AF of M member dutifully struck the bell. The mortar was fired, the second if required, the tubes were cleaned, pre-loaded for the next performance and weather-proof covers fitted to keep the mortars dry.
    Over the decades, the cuing casually progressed to "Stand by bomb and bell; bomb and bell GO!"
    Chapter 4: One year our Governor General was scheduled to make an "official" visit: ALL the proper protocols were in place, the proper music performed to march him in, yada, yada, etcetera. A platoon of 'men in black' were in place and the press were of course in attendance. Our SM was up in her tiny booth located in the centre of our rear-most lighting cove and our Head Electrician and I were in our lighting and sound booth at the rear of our balcony with one 'Man In Black' standing between us. Alec Cooper was wearing a headset while I was taking my cues from a wall mounted speaker station. Everything was proceeding smoothly according to plan, the proper entrance music had been played, the Governor General had been piped in and escorted to his seat
    AND THEN IT HAPPENED!
    Our SM, with her cue lights already lit, casually said: "Stand by Bomb. Bomb go!" You had to be there to appreciate the reactions of the 'Men In Black.'
    'nough said.
    EDIT: Inadvertently misspelled 'our' as 'out'.
    Toodleoo!
    Ron Hebbard
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
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  13. SteveB

    SteveB Well-Known Member

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    We had the Joffrey II for a month in pre-Tour tech, Ron Jr., Secret Service and all (obviously the 80’s). I can’t recall the security being all that stringent, wouldn’t surprise me if the satchel carried the details comic book supply.
     
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  14. macsound

    macsound Well-Known Member

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    One large, city owned community theatre I worked at, I had previously performed at when a child.

    As a child, they gave everyone handstamps as they read down the roster.
    As an adult, they had plastic, numbered badges that you would pickup each day when entering the backstage area and making sure you were on the list.

    Because the theatre company had to pay an additional "security guard" (high school or college student) if they went over 100 people backstage, the producers would update the backstage list as often as they needed to, to make sure there were only 99 people on the list. Because of this, people would fall off the list - like electricians who would come in once a week to ensure the plot was still accurate or fly captains, wig + prop maintaince people etc. Since they only really needed to be there for a less than an hour and the producer was the only one able to modify the backstage list, typically the most important tasks of the week would never get done because the person wasn't allowed backstage.
    It was always such an absurd rule filled facility that was do inconsistent.
     
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  15. venuetech

    venuetech Well-Known Member

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    I recall Ron jr.’s security detail liking a sign we had in the scene shop that said something like “Sam’s Masculinity School, ... Dance In - - Walk Out”.
     
  16. kiwitechgirl

    kiwitechgirl Well-Known Member

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    SOH have metal detectors and X-ray bag scanners for patrons, but not for staff/artists. I do have to swipe my pass to get into the building though and when I do, my profile pops up on the computer monitors of the stage door staff. Those guys are amazing and remember a huge number of names and faces.

    There’s also a heavy police presence on site as well as always visible security staff; the building’s Head of Security is an ex-cop who came to chat with us about how they keep the place secure, which was actually very interesting - they’ve refined the systems massively over the years and now run a very, very tight ship. They still get the odd person who manages to get past security and onto the sails but only once every few years!

    The loading dock is probably the most secure part of the building in that vehicles have to be booked in to gain entry, but it would be very difficult for a pedestrian to get anywhere near it due to the nature of the entry.

    The Arts Centre Melbourne will shortly be examining its security procedures, I think, after a heckler was able to gain access to the theatre with a megaphone on an opening night of one of our productions down there - he is a disgruntled composer who had an opera commissioned by the company 50 years ago, but it was never performed, and he’s still bitter about it. He intended to read a statement to the audience but couldn’t get his megaphone working and the house lights went down so he couldn’t see the text! I just wanted to know how he got the megaphone into the theatre in the first place and I won’t have been the only one. Hell of a grudge to hold though.
     
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