New security solution reduced crime and increased security at the 2018 Malmö Festival
The Malmö Festival is Sweden’s oldest city festival and is held in August every year. The festival is free to enter and attracts approximately 1.4 million visitors of all ages and nationalities. For eight days visitors can enjoy musical and dance performances, experience a wide variety of food, look at art, watch dance routines and more. The festivities take place on many stages in central Malmö, which has a population of just over 330,000.
The security and safety of visitors and artists is of paramount importance when the festival is held. The organisers of the festival, the Traffic and Property Management Department in Malmö City, have therefore worked tirelessly to improve security.
Increased security initiative
For the festival in 2018, an initiative was launched to enhance security measures in collaboration with the Swedish Police Authority, Skåne Regional Council and Rescue Service South. There were several reasons for the intensified security work.
- “Such a large gathering of people poses a risk in itself as many people are in the same place and require protection at the same time”, says Magnus Fjällström, Security Coordinator at the City Office of Malmö and Strategic Security Coordinator for the Malmö Festival.
A solution that includes Axis’ network cameras provides quick and clear information in the event of an incident, including what and who caused it, so that interventions can take place quickly.
- “For the 2018 festival we wanted to collect better decision-making data, and by using technology, we could quickly get an overview of the current situation should anything happen. That allowed us to undertake a quick and effective situation analysis”, says Magnus Fjällström.
In general, a large number of security guards and other security personnel are needed to keep order and ensure the safety of Malmö Festival visitors, artists and other staff. The organisers of the festival wanted to reduce staffing costs.
- “By using technology, staffing can be made more efficient, while safety standards are just as high”, says Magnus Fjällström.
Unfortunately, festivals and mass gatherings involve a risk of sexual harassment, abuse, terrorist acts and sabotage. The police’s objective was to work proactively and with incident prevention, rather than reaction, so they could effectively detect and deter delinquent behaviour before anything serious happened.
The Swedish Police Authority had previously had a few cameras at the Malmö Festival. For the 2018 festival, the organisers installed a refreshed and innovative solution that included network cameras from Axis.
One element of the security solution consisted of vehicle barriers with sensors, which sounded an alarm if someone tried to move the barrier, and a nearby camera then zoomed in and filmed the event.
Vehicle barriers are of the utmost importance to prevent vehicles from driving into crowds, regardless of whether it's an act of terrorism, drink-driving or illness related.
In addition, software was installed on the cameras to count visitors, and to monitor the flow of people in different areas. This helped the festival meet its licensing requirements for how many people are allowed to assemble in a certain area at the same time, as well as to estimate how many security guards were needed. The organisers could also estimate crowd flows to determine how many staff members were needed in certain areas.
Loudspeakers were also connected to the security solution in an area where a lot of young people congregate, in order to initiate loudspeaker messages. The idea was that the messages themselves would have a calming effect and demonstrate that the organisers are monitoring what is happening amongst the crowds.
In addition, the cameras filmed audience members in close proximity to the stages in real time.
- “Despite smoke machines and the challenges of spotlights in different colours, and thus difficult lighting situations, the cameras worked very well and provided good quality images. Axis’ network cameras are very impressive”, says Magnus Fjällström.
Fewer crimes and increased security
The new security solution has resulted in a sharp fall in crime. At the Malmö Festival in 2018, the number of cases of assault fell by almost 13 per cent and the number of sexual offences fell by 73 per cent. Furthermore, considerably more people were detained thanks to evidence in the form of image material. Detentions for disturbing public order increased by approximately 44 per cent, and the detention of intoxicated people increased by 36 per cent.
- “We are extremely satisfied; the new camera solution is a great success and has resulted in fewer crimes. It is extremely important that everyone feels secure when they visit the Malmö Festival”, says Magnus Fjällström.
Thanks to the cameras, the police can better identify potential risks and intervene quickly if someone is intoxicated or if a fight breaks out. The new security solution has also contributed to cost savings because security personnel can focus their efforts where they are really needed.
The cameras also deliver increased safety for the staff.
- “If we hold the Malmö Festival in 2019, we definitely want more cameras as well as
IP-connected loudspeakers. The very best option would be a container solution, where we could move the entire security solution from a festival to another vulnerable place, or to a place where an event is being held”, says Magnus Fjällström.
 Malmö Municipality, SCB 2017
 Swedish Police Authority