Last month, a drone flew over Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara during a San Francisco 49ers game. The drone was carrying leaflets with an anti-TV news media message that it dropped on the crowd.
CBSNews.com reports that the drone’s pilot, 55-year-old Tracey Michael Mapes, then drove to the Oakland Coliseum and repeated the leaflet dropping during a Raiders game.
Mapes was arrested in Oakland and is charged with violating a Santa Cara ordinance. The FAA is also looking into the matter because the air space over NFL stadiums are no-fly zones during games.
Stadium Security is Vulnerable
While no one was hurt during the November drone incidents, it revealed a weakness in stadium security that terrorists could exploit. What if, instead of leaflets, a drone carried a chemicals, biological agents or explosives?
In that scenario, the possibility of injury or loss of life becomes very real.
But as SecurityInfoWatch.com explains, most stadium security protocols don’t address the risk of a drone dropping a hazardous payload. The concept is simply too new and stadium operators don’t know what the solution might be, or where to get the right technology to stop it.
The Legal Path
Many state and local laws are already in place to limit where drones can fly. In fact, Santa Clara has such a law that prohibits drone flights within 500 feet of the stadium.
However, a law is only as good as the ability to enforce it. In Santa Clara, the law was easily ignored. What’s needed instead is some technology to detect approaching drones before they arrive and a method for stopping them.
Creating a Drone Strategy
The key to developing a protocol for drone threats is observation. Get to know the air space around your facility. Understand the number of drones that are flown for a given period. This type of information can be obtained using unmanned aerial systems (UAS) sensors.
The data you glean from your observation will help prepare you for those flights that are out of the ordinary: A single drone encroaching on your air space, or a coordinated group moving toward you.
The majority of your planning should then be put toward evacuation. How will you get the teams off the field quickly? What’s the best way to empty the stadium without causing a panic?
Security Info Watch explains, “At this point the goal is to save lives and minimize injury. You aren’t likely to stop the attack.”
If you are looking for ways to secure your facility or develop evacuation plans, call American Security Force today at 855-722-8585. We can work with you to create solutions tailored to your needs.