Home » Security at the carnival – you can keep track of the Lucerne carnival – News

Security at the carnival – you can keep track of the Lucerne carnival – News

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Security at the carnival – you can keep track of the Lucerne carnival – News


For the first time, crowd spotters are on duty in the streets of Lucerne. They help defuse dangerous situations.

On the town hall steps on the Reuss, Guggen music plays at full blast. The carnival participants move shoulder to shoulder at the foot of the stairs to the beat of the cacophonous sounds. There is no way through on the bridge over the Reuss – the Rathaussteg.

Legend: Lucerne town hall stairs Full pipe on the full town hall stairs: It’s practically impossible to get through here during carnival. Keystone/Urs Flüeler

Situations like this happen again and again at the Lucerne carnival. The crowds in the alleys and squares of the old town are particularly large on main days. 25,000 people attended the day watch this year. The carnival hustle and bustle in the city of Lucerne is closely monitored by so-called crowd spotters.

That’s why the city of Lucerne is increasing security

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An estimated 314,000 carnival participants cavorted in Lucerne between Dirty Thursday and Güdiszyschtig last year. Never that many before.

In order to guarantee their safety, the city has increased security measures. Based on a report from a security company, there is still room for improvement in two areas in particular: people routing and access for emergency services.

That’s why so-called spotters, specially trained security personnel, are being used for the first time. They keep an eye on critical points in the old town.

You are on duty for the first time at Carnival. “We currently have 25 people on duty,” says Martin Heller, a member of the management team at LU-sicherheitsdienst. On behalf of the city of Lucerne, he and his team keep an eye on the flow of visitors to the squares in the old town.

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They use an app to report to the headquarters how many people are currently moving around in each place. They take photos and estimate the number of visitors on site. They also report sensitive situations – for example when a carnival float blocks a possible escape route.

There are always a few people who don’t like it when they have to take a detour.

Things got really tight for the first time on Dirty Thursday at the day watch. Thousands of carnival participants flocked to Kapellplatz for the traditional Fötzelirääge. Individual alleys had to be closed briefly on the spotters’ instructions so that they remained free as escape routes.

“There are always a few people who don’t think it’s so great when they have to take a detour,” says Martin Heller. In principle, however, the understanding is there. At the 2023 carnival, things got really tight at times. “So people understand that someone has to keep safety in mind.” If there are suddenly large gatherings in the old town, the town hall footbridge over the Reuss, for example, will be switched to a one-way system.

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Legend: Crowd spotter in action Crowd spotter Martin Heller has positioned himself on Bahnhofstrasse and is reporting the situation to the app using an image. SRF/Christian Oechslin

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Legend: Overview in the app Martin Heller has an overview of where there are currently many visitors to the carnival on an app. SRF/Christian Oechslin

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Legend: One-way system on the town hall walkway If the crowds in the old town are particularly large, a temporary one-way system is introduced on the town hall walkway over the Reuss. SRF/Christian Oechslin

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The situation assessments were carried out in close cooperation with the Lucerne police. The spotters observed the situation and the police then helped to set up diversions. In addition, security patrols are also deployed on the axes that are important for the rescue organizations.

When it comes to all questions about safety, Martin Heller points out: The restrictions for carnival participants should be as minimal as possible. “After all, it’s Carnival and you can celebrate sometimes.”

Other events also rely on spotters

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For example, at the Züri Fäscht in summer 2023, the organizer’s special crowd spotters were also used. These recorded the density of visitors depending on the sector.

The Zurich city police also used cameras to monitor the flow of visitors in specific areas.

The festival area was also regularly flown over by helicopter so that the police could get an up-to-date picture of the situation.

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