Lesson Purpose:  To familiarize the student with the psychological aspects of crowds and present procedures used by event organizers to control crowds, demonstrations, and civil disorders. disorders. 

Imagine these calls: ³Unit #2, calls: respond to Fourth and Main St. St. Report of a group of 10-15 10people fighting outside the Barrel Lounge,´ 

or ³Respond to a loud party call involving approximately 40 to 50 teens reportedly drinking under age. age.´


Group behavior is a dynamic part of any crowd and the failure to understand this can lead to a crowd confrontation and jeopardize your safety and that of the community. community. Preparation for crowd management must begin before the event. event. There may be times, however, when you have little or no time to prepare, so we must begin our planning and preparation. preparation.

Know your crowd: Types of Crowds
Crowds are divided into two major categories:

and ‡psychological

Each of these are then broken down into corresponding sub-categories. sub-

The physical crowd 

A physical crowd is characterized by density of contact and showing no significant group behavior. behavior. The physical crowd has little or no organization, no unity of purpose, and its members come and go. go. (Example: (Example: mall or major festival type event) The physical crowd is the conventional crowd or casual crowd. This crowd is characterized by crowd. density of contact showing no significant group behavior. behavior. They are, however, usually assembled for a purpose but have no common bond and are not dependent on each other to act 

The psychological crowd 

The psychological crowd is an assemblage of people who have a sustained common interest and respond emotionally to the same stimuli. stimuli.
(Example: (Example: ball game, political speech, parades, fires, accidents or disturbances) 

Types of psychological crowds: 

Sightseer or sightseeing crowd 

This crowd is characterized by their common bond (a single purpose for being at a certain place). They are place). characterized as curiosity seekers, mostly cooperative, and sometimes anxious to assist. assist. Officers must retain their cooperation while attempting to disperse them. them. 

Expressive or agitated crowd 

Members of the expressive crowd are involved in some kind of expressive behavior, such as a block party or political rally. rally. This type of crowd is emotionally involved and can easily become agitated if approached improperly. For the improperly. most part, they want to have a good time or express their point of view. If possible, and as long as there is no breach view. of peace, it is best to let the crowd release their energies by permitting them to express themselves. themselves.

Expressive or agitated crowds 

an unorganized group of people willing to be led into lawlessness but hesitate to act because it lacks 

(1) Organization, (2) Courage, (3) Unity. 

They are noisy, willing to threaten and taunt or harass police; police; however, they refrain from physical attack

Know your crowd: Types of Crowds 

Mob (hostile/aggressive) 

A mob is a crowd whose members, under the stimulus of intense excitement and agitation, lose their sense of reason. They can also lose respect for sense of order, law, and respect for each other. This type of crowd is a riot. 

Types of mobs: 

Escape mob The aggressive mob Acquisitive mob Expressive mob 

This type of mob can be very destructive

Know your crowd: Types of Crowds 

Social/Psychological Influences 

Psychological behavioral factors are present in any crowd confrontation. confrontation. 

Knowledge and appreciation of social/psychological influences can help control forces that can effectively counter riot tactics, help with crowd dispersal, and help supervisors maintain control of their subordinates

Behavioral factors not only affect a crowd, but they affect control forces 



The feeling of being lost in the crowd. Members of the crowd feel they cannot be identified. Therefore, they lose responsibility for their actions. 


The ³everybody is doing it´ feeling. Members feel the attitudes and emotions are being experienced and
are shared by everyone in the group.

Behavioral factors not only affect a crowd, but they affect control forces 

Influences  Inability to withdraw 

Being afraid to express a view contrary to those in the majority. majority. 

Increased hostility (Convergence Theory) 

When people are frustrated and believe they are being treated unfairly, confrontation is an outlet for their anger; however, conflict does anger; not eliminate the problem and it often increases hatred between social groups. groups.

Behavioral factors not only affect a crowd, but they affect control forces: forces: 


Social suggestion 

The urge to do what others do is quite strong with the majority of people. people. Crowd people tend to follow the lead of others, particularly those designated as leaders. Those leaders. involved usually have a common denominator that brings them together to unify the group. group.

Behavioral factors not only affect a crowd, but they affect control forces: forces:  Influences 


There exists in any crowd a high degree of emotional tension and excitement. Hostile emotions like anger and fear may drive the crowd to act out.  

Homogeneity of mental state (group mindmind-set) Emotional contagion (Contagion Theory)  

This is the most dramatic feature of collective behavior where excitement seems to be transmitted from one person to another. another.

How to monitor crowd density

How to communicate effectively 

Communication between your staff is one of the most important elements of a successfully managed crowd event. event. This is important before, during and after an event. Training event. should include communication skills, whether face-to-face or via radios face-toand telephones. telephones.

How to use the equipment 

The technology systems in your station are only effective if your operators know how to use them. Such systems could include: them. include: 

CCTV Customer Information Systems such as Public Address (PA) and dynamic signage Radio and telephone communications Automatic gate lines

Crowd flow computer modeling 

A crowd flow computer model can help you predict areas of likely congestion and analyze options for improvement. improvement. However, simply using the software does not guarantee you an accurate prediction. Like any tool, prediction. it has to be used in the right way and good preparation is important. Here important. is a recommended process: process:





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