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A Buyer’s Guide to Weapons Detection for Venue Security

Weapons detection is displacing walk-through metal detectors, enabling venues to strengthen physical security and offer patrons a frictionless experience. Here’s what to look for in a solution.

Decision-makers involved in physical security at venues are at a flex point. Security threats are becoming more widespread, and soft targets are becoming predominant. At the same time, venues are placing a higher value on user experience and convenience. Legacy walk-through metal detectors produce additional soft targets because of crowded people queueing in lines. They create the antithesis of a pleasant experience.

Systems designed specifically for weapons detection are setting a new standard for physical security at many venues. These include stadiums, arenas, casinos, concert halls, hospitals, schools, ticketed venues, religious institutions, malls, and more. It’s also important to note that places that never required weapons detection are now needing them, due to the high rates of violence where people gather. With weapons detection versus legacy walk-through metal detectors, venues can dramatically improve their security posture while creating a safer, frictionless experience for patrons.

Weapons detection also eases the burden on security personnel by limiting the number of alarms and by using automation and analytics to make guards and other members of the security team more responsive to real threats. Furthermore, due to the large number of personal items that are metal, the number of alarms puts added pressure on the security teams which makes resolving alerts less effective because they are trying to push so many people through the doors, and often don’t check thoroughly. The “bad guys” are looking for that.

Weapons detection systems are specifically designed to identify weapons. They are far more effective in targeting real threats, as opposed to raising unnecessary and wasteful nuisance alarms triggered by cell phones or artificial limbs. Weapons detection delivers a seamless, frictionless experience for patrons. Depending upon the system, you can expect Approximately 4000 visitors to pass through a weapons detection threshold an hour, 10 times more than with a walk-through metal detector.

There are many factors that differentiate weapons detection from walk-through metal detectors. The key is that weapons detection systems are built on a foundation of state-of-the-art digital technology, as opposed to the decades-old, outmoded analog technology of walk-through metal detectors.

From a potential customer’s perspective, there are several key factors to consider in evaluating a modern weapons detection system. These include:

  • A digital threshold: Visitors have to walk through the threshold without stopping to remove items from their pockets. This requires a threshold equipped with modern sensors, video cameras and sophisticated software the provides the context to distinguish between a handgun and a cellphone.
  • Artificial intelligence/machine learning: AI and machine learning are essential elements in discriminating between everyday metal items and threat objects. AI can help security personnel see: who is carrying the threat, where the threat is located, how many threats are on a person, and which person in a group is the potential threat, even when two or more people are passing through the system at the same time.
  • Advanced analytics: Unlike analog walk-through metal detectors, a weapons detection system can provide analytics to help teams continuously improve their venue security. Decision-makers can improve staffing decisions for security and operational teams, streamline ConOps, inform training and improve on the experiences of patrons, visitors and security personnel.
  • Communications and connectivity: Today’s venues have an ecosystem of security protections that extend beyond the entries and across the environment. With digital weapons detection, you can integrate across security technologies and protocols to get a full picture of your security posture. Look for a solution that can integrate seamlessly with existing camera and video management systems, communications, analytics and other venue security systems.
  • Cloud computing: By connecting each stand-alone weapons detection threshold to a centralized management platform located in the cloud, security teams can get a holistic, centralized view across the entire security ecosystem, with real time access to act immediately on potential threats
  • Ease of use: Weapons detection should be easy for guards to use and should reduce the alarm error rate to a more sustainable level for security staff, while not compromising detection of weapons capable of mass casualty events. Additionally, weapons detection can streamline installation and maintenance requirements through plug-and-play, software-as-a-service and product-as-a-service deployment models.
  • Frictionless visitor experience: Legacy walk-through metal detectors are full of friction: From standing in long lines, to emptying your pockets, to handing items over to a stranger, to being subject to unnecessary and intrusive searches. Weapons detection is frictionless, no contact, no stopping, no dangerous soft targets created by slow-moving lines.

Taking The Next Step

Weapons detection represents one of the most highly visible, sought-after sectors in the physical security market. They are being used in NFL and MLB stadiums, concert halls, casinos, hospitals, ticketed venues, schools, malls—pretty much any environment where people gather together for a shared activity.

Despite the high visibility of metal detection, the reality is that the concept and successful execution of the concept are still relatively new developments. The building of the first digital weapons detection systems only began in the 2010s.

In fact, it wasn’t until the release of the Evolv Express® from Evolv Technology in 2019 that the possibility of a new standard in weapons detection became a reality. Evolv has been the market pioneer, and continues to set the pace in innovation and reliability in metal detection, having screened more than 200 million people, second only to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration.

For more information on how your organization and transform physical security with weapons detection, please visit Evolv Technology.

Also check out our page: "Weapons Detection Makes Walk-Through Metal Detectors Obsolete."