Public spaces, such as airports, railway stations, or stadiums bring together large numbers of people on limited space to use security-sensitive infrastructure. These spaces pose two distinct challenges to public security:
(a) detecting unauthorized intrusions and
(b) monitoring large crowds in order to provide guidance in case of unexpected events (e.g., mass panic).
To ensure the safety of the general public as well as individuals, we thus require a flexible and intelligent method for area surveillance. One example in which current monitoring systems proved to be dangerously inefficient is the Love Parade music festival in Duisburg, Germany, July 2010. Crowd control failed to provide guidance to a large crowd, resulting in a mass panic with 21 deaths and several hundred injured. In this particular case, overloaded communication infrastructure led to a lack of information about the density and the movement of the crowd, which in turn resulted in misjudgments on appropriate strategies to resolve the situation. This incident highlights the need for more sophisticated and reliable methods for area surveillance.
The SAFEST project aims to analyse the social context of area surveillance and to develop a system that can fulfill this task, both in terms of technology as well as acceptance by the general public. The system will operate in distributed way, collect anonymised data, securely transfer this data to a central location for evaluation, and – if necessary – notify the operator and/or issue alerts directly to the general public.
SAFEST addresses the following topics:
- it proposes a solution for crisis management, addressing social, technical, and economic issues.
- it enhances the protection of the population against risks and dangers, including the evaluation of acceptance of said solution.
- it addresses the protection of critical infrastructures by the means of a comprehensive technical solution.