The national evening news recently reported a story about a group of shoppers rioting in Los Angeles; the incident was caught on video. Based on the footage, it appeared that a large group of people were inside a department store physically fighting over discounted holiday merchandise. The struggle over the items became so violent that a female in the crowd began spraying pepper spray into the faces of other shoppers. The spraying escalated the reaction of the crowd into total chaos, an incident which remained out of control for a significant period of time. Effective crowd control management is not just limited to retailers, but law enforcement, military, event planners, sports venues, entertainment venues, theme parks, schools and any other space where a crowds form. And, make no mistake about it, it only takes a small number of people to incite destruction and violence.
Over the past few years, many in the world have been suffering with a poor economy which has placed a great deal of strain financially and economically on nearly everyone. Additionally, employment statistics remain grim with more and more businesses cutting jobs and laying people off. The two wars fronts, Iraq and Afghanistan, have taken its toll on the American tax payer. More and more people have reached or are nearing their breaking point and experts are predicting pockets of social unrest to be a common occurrence over the next few years. One can simply glance toward the Occupy Movement, as this gathering of protesters articulates a heightened level of negative pubic sentiment in many respects.
With an “on edge” society, one small event can trigger a mass reaction. The liability organizations face if one of these events occurs on their property or at their facility can be both financially and brand catastrophic. Organizations have found themselves tied-up in civil and/or criminal court for many years. So, before hosting an event where crowds of people will be gathering, take the extra steps to prepare and plan for crowd control. The small amount of preparation will not only reduce risk of injury and loss of life, it will reduce the legal exposure faced by many who simply don’t take the time to prepare to ensure the safety of all.
The Fallston Group offers consultation services for Crowd Management and Control Strategies. Additionally, we have professional affiliations and resources to manage your entire event safely; please contact us at 410-420-2001 for more information. Fallston Group LLC, a crisis management and communications company.