Gilroy Garlic Fest Tragedy – How smart fences might prevent future attacks

Smart Fences the wave of the future

Today another senseless tragedy occurred when a gunman allegedly used wire cutters to break into the chain link fence surrounding the Gilroy Garlic Festival.  The shooter apparently cut the fence adjacent to a creek bordering the festival grounds.  The shooter unleashed bullets taking down 6-year old Stephen Luciano Romero of San Jose, a yet to be identified 13-year old girl, as well as the 19-year old gunman, Santino William Legan.

Police are searching to determine if an accomplice was involved.  Law enforcement’s prompt response likely precluded many other unfortunate deaths.  at least a dozen other people were wounded from the massacre.

Witnesses reported that the firing of shots by the gunman appeared to be random.  The gunman first appears behind a stage before begging to fire at festival attendees.

Gilroy known as “The Garlic Capital of the World” has around 50,000 residents and is approximately 80 miles southeast of San Francisco.

What can we do to learn from this unfortunate attack and help protect against future copy cat attacks?

Technology exists that can be used to detect fence climbing as well someone cutting chain link fence.  Such technology if deployed by law enforcement to secure public events would like help reduce the response time and capturing the gunman before they begin their firing spree.

One of several companies that make perimiter breach detection equipment is Southwest Microwave.

These types of systems have been used to protect and secure the power grid, but given the potential for broad attacks against public venue attendees, consideration should be given to deploying similar technology in order to quickly detect intruders that might have ill intentions.

Profession Uwe Hartmann from the Saarland University has been working on technology that can detect fence perimeter breaches as well as low flying drones.  His technology relies on a thin cable containing magnetic field sensors that can be easily installed on perimeter fences of any kind.  The technology can automatically rule out false alarms from environmental factors as well as disturbances from animals.

Such technology in time will likely become a standard part of perimeter public event security given what we have learned from today’s awful tragedy.

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