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Surveillance cameras helping to curb unruly behavior at sporting events

Published by Dan on November 13, 2009 4:11 PM

Anyone whose ever attended a college football knows that emotions can run high, both on the field and in the stands. While the players are trained to rough each other up, the fans are expected to express their feeling via clapping and well-timed comedic heckles. Any acts of violence in the bleachers are of course uncalled for. Unfortunately, these things happen. The combination of alcohol and manic fanaticism does lead to the occasional fight and confrontation. So what can stadium security crews do to prevent such outbursts? Some are turning to high-tech video surveillance systems.

One specific surveillance setup that's gaining popularity in sports stadiums actually allows spectators to alert security personnel of a potential problem via text message. At the start of the 2009 college football season, at least three dozen schools were integrating the text message alert system into their stadium surveillance operations.

At Auburn University, for instance, if a fan witnesses a disturbance, he or she can describe the problem in a text and send it straight to the press box. There, security officials pull up the complaint on a laptop and can quickly access the surveillance cameras providing the best view of the area where the reported activity is taking place. They can then zoom in for clearer viewing and respond accordingly if action needs to be taken. This gives fans a voice and the ability to take action against unruly behavior, when in the past they might have felt hopeless. The goal is to provide a more pleasant experience for those who simply want to enjoy themselves at the game.

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