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Americans willing to pay more for counterterrorism strategies

Nineteen years after 911

OW Staff Writer | 9/11/2020, midnight

Long after 9/11, Americans remain willing to pay more for counterterrorism and anti-crime security at public venues and value them even if they entail a loss of time and privacy, according to a USC study released this week

In the 19 years that have passed since Sept. 11, 2001, Americans have seen significant increases in counterterrorism security in public venues, including more security guards, closed-circuit TV cameras, metal detectors and bag checks, noted a USC statement. Businesses and federal officials have often wondered: Do these measures deter patrons and result in any economic losses for these venues? Or have Americans grown accustomed to them.

Researchers at the USC Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) set out to find out by conducting surveys of patrons of events, or those who thought of attending, at the following three types of venue: a Major League Baseball stadium; an arena that hosts National Basketball Association games and National Hockey League matches; and a metropolitan area convention center.

The researchers included responses from a representative sample of 1,276 adults who had attended or intended to attend an event at public venues in the past four years or sometime in the near future.

“Our study indicates that terrorism countermeasures actually resulted in higher attendance at public venues such as stadiums, arenas and convention centers,'' said Adam Rose, a study team leader who is the director of CREATE and a research professor at the USC Price School of Public Policy. “This results in a sizeable increase in revenues at these types of sites, ranging from 8 to 59 percent, and a significant increase in activity for the surrounding economy, though it is relatively small in percentage terms.''

To visit public venues today, Americans face even more measures due to the pandemic, such as wearing masks, social distancing and temperature checks. However, Rose and study co-author Richard John said it may take time for some patrons to accept those measures.

The findings indicate that American adults in the surveys view countermeasures such as closed-circuit TV, the addition of security or law enforcement officers, metal detectors and bag-checks as effective for improving safety and reducing risk of crime and terrorism.

“They do not view the countermeasures as either an inconvenience or an invasion of privacy,'' said John. Of the four countermeasures, bag checks are viewed as the most inconvenient and the most invasive of privacy.