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Americans value counter terrorism security at venues

A new study, undertaken by the University of Southern California, indicates that Americans value the additional security measures at stadiums, arenas and other such venues, even if it means they must trade off time and privacy.

In the 19 years that have passed since 11 September 2001, Americans have seen significant increases in counter terrorism security in public venues, including more security guards, closed-circuit TV cameras, metal detectors and bag checks.

Researchers at the USC Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) recently sought to discover whether such measures deter patrons and result in any economic losses for venues, or whether Americans grown accustomed to them. They surveyed patrons of events at a Major League Baseball stadium, an arena that hosts National Basketball Association games and National Hockey League matches, and a metropolitan area convention center - a representative sample of 1,276 adults who had attended or intended to attend an event at either of those venues in the past four years or sometime in the near future.

Adam Rose, a study team leader who is the director of CREATE, said: “Our study indicates that terrorism countermeasures actually resulted in higher attendance at public venues such as stadiums, arenas and convention centers. This results in a sizeable increase in revenues at these types of sites, ranging from eight per cent to 59 per cent, and a significant increase in activity for the surrounding economy, though it is relatively small in percentage terms.”

Rose and co-author Richard John, a CREATE associate director specialising in risk perception, say that since 9/11, and particularly following the numerous lone-wolf type attacks in the past several years, the public appears to have adapted to the increased security deployed at public venues. In fact, the study suggests that they do not view counter measures as either an inconvenience or an invasion of privacy.

Between 18 per cent to 33 per cent of respondents in the public assembly venue study said counterterrorism measures like closed-circuit TV and law enforcement patrols, metal detectors at entrances and bag inspections would increase their likelihood of attending events at the venues. Some customers said that they would be willing to pay more than $5 to attend events to cover additional measures to increase security.

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