No one can anticipate tragedies like movie theater shootings in Colorado or Texas. But national media coverage of them fuels consumer anxiety that can affect customer traffic at shopping centers, theaters, amusement parks and other public venues across the country.
Following public tragedies, consumers tend to be more aware of security. They won’t consciously avoid movie theaters, for example, but may subconsciously stay closer to home.
Venues often respond to these situations by doing nothing, saying nothing – even avoiding local reporters working on stories that demonstrate the safety of their own communities.
After national tragedies, venues that rely on consumer traffic need to reassure the public. But the most effective way to do it is often through actions, not words. Venues can calm their customers by making security more visible in the weeks following an incident. This doesn’t necessarily mean increasing security, but simply making people more aware of it. For example:
- Increase the frequency and visibility of security patrols.
- If you now use one-person patrols, consider two-person teams.
- If you normally use plain-clothes security, consider putting them in uniforms.
- If you have a large parking lot, ask local police to patrol it periodically.
- You may want to consider installing additional lighting.
- If security vehicles typically park away from entrances, consider having them park closer.
- If you sell food, you may want to invite local police to stop in for free coffee or soft drinks.
Talking about security tends to make the public nervous. But quietly making security more visible provides subtle reassurance. Customers will reward you with their loyal patronage.