Grappling with risks prompted by COVID-19 and escalating violence, Americans prefer modern, touchless security screening systems over legacy metal detectors. They expect their schools, workplaces and ticketed venues to ensure social distancing and would abandon their plans rather than enter a facility with crowded security lines, according to insights released by Evolv Technology based on a survey conducted by The Harris Poll.
The survey was conducted online with more than 1,500 American adults who have a personal stake in the security screening experience: consumers who attended ticketed events in 2019 (n=506), parents of school-aged children (n=712), and workers at large factories, warehouses and distribution centers (n=504).
Americans rate COVID-19 and the overall pandemic response as a top issue facing the country (83% say they are very or somewhat concerned). This did not, however, diminish their concerns about social violence, responding that they are very or somewhat concerned about mass shootings (83%), street crime (81%) and protest-related civil unrest (81%). All three groups believe that the risk of public violence is getting worse (70%) and nearly 3 in 10 (28%) express that they felt unsafe going out in public.
Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) respondents value the general sense of safety that physical security measures provide, and over half (54%) believe there is deterrent value in those measures. Significant majorities also agree, though, that traditional screening measures introduce unacceptable risks in the pandemic environment. Nearly 8 in 10 (79%) feel that metal detectors create long lines, and two-thirds (67%) feel that metal detectors create crowds that violate social distancing guidelines. A majority also believe that metal detectors require belongings to be touched by a security guard (70%), require pat down searches (52%), generate too many false positives (58%) and force families to separate during screening (57%).
When asked to consider how specific safety and security measures affected their likelihood of returning to venues and facilities, nearly 9 in 10 (87%) of Americans said were likely to return if touchless security screening was in place.