Journalist Jane Jacobs developed the concept of “eyes on the street” as it relates to public safety over 50 years ago. The theory holds that pedestrians tend to feel safe in public places that attract a lot of people because the crowds perform informal surveillance of the area and can draw attention to any potential threats. According to the theory, to draw the necessary numbers of pedestrians to keep “eyes on the street,” the public space and the area around it must be accessible and attractive.
Voting is a precious right; the core of our democracy in the United States. Officials for the 2020 election continue to face challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility of foreign cyberattacks. Election boards contending with these legitimate concerns should not neglect the physical security of each polling location.
The last six years have seen an alarming trend, both in the United States and abroad, in terroristic attacks using motor vehicles as weapons. These attacks have involved cars and trucks barrelling into large crowds, pedestrian areas, and college campuses. Potentially any soft target, such as sports stadiums, community centers, and government buildings, could see a vehicular attack.
Ensuring public safety should always be the driving force of security. Protecting both people and property from an attack can take more than rudimentary safeguards like fencing and traffic barriers. Mass demonstrations such as protests can put security teams at odds with these goals, but when intensive measures are taken, the response can project a tone of intimidation instead of protection. With the right tools and excellent preparation, any location can be ready to both safeguard people and property while also maintaining an air of professional authority.