KAILUA-KONA — With thousands of athletes and their families descending on West Hawaii for the Ironman World Championship this Saturday, security is a great concern.
This year, Ironman is partnering with the Department of Homeland Security promoting their “See Something, Say Something” campaign.
Welcoming and open events and venues remain an attractive target for criminals and those seeking maximum damage with a low probability of being caught or stopped, according to Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection Brian Harrell.
They are by design, less secure, which makes them “soft targets,” he said via email. Securing open and public venues challenges traditional risk management measures, both because of the sheer volume of targets and because of the desire to promote, rather than restrict, access to public places.
“The answer is not to turn soft targets into fortresses, but to protect life and property, while maintaining safety,” he said.
The DHS “See Something, Say Something” campaign has been adopted across the country, and the Ironman World Championship has embraced this as a general call-to-action when encountering suspicious behavior.
“DHS continues to prioritize large gathering areas, open venues, and crowded spaces as we want to work with our industry partners for them to become a ‘hard target,’ with fundamental risk reduction measures in place. The Ironman organizers have a ‘culture of security’ and have embraced DHS’ products and services such as our assessments, bag search procedures, and law enforcement response plans,” Harrell said in an email to West Hawaii Today.
Ironman security is present on race day in restricted zones that require access passes and has established a no bag policy in those areas, which include the pier transition area and finish line.
DHS continues to remind the public at any large gathering event to relax and have fun, but to also be aware of your surroundings and if you see something, say something to local law enforcement or security. Make sure to include the five “W’s”, who did you see, what did you see, where did you see it, when you saw it and why did it look suspicious.
Police non-emergency line: 935-331; emergencies call 911; Homeland Security “If You See Something, Say Something website: dhs.gov/see-something-say-something