Crowd Control In The 21st Century – It’s All In The Visual Cues!

It’s been proven in several tests that people have a tendency to take cues from their immediate environment. As a result they tend to act in such a way that’s responsive to those cues. A great example of this is the clean up of the New York City subway.

By the late 1980’s the New York City subway was awash with graffiti. In fact over 80% of all subway trains had some type of written graffiti on them. It was costing New York State millions of dollars every year to clean them up. However in the early 1990’s things took a turn for the better when efforts to clean up the subway system began. Alternatively instead of focusing directly on the problem of graffiti, the transit authorities began to look at the bigger picture and started to take a zero-tolerance approach to petty crimes such as turnstyle-hopping and fare dodging which until this point had largely been ignored. Around this time the subway also launched a brand new advertising campaign to promote a cleaner more efficient system. The results were dramatic to say the least. In the first 5 years alone, subway graffiti had dropped by over 70% and by the late 1990’s graffiti became an exception rather than the norm. By the early 2000’s the New York Subway had a totally different image to the one a little over a decade before, now boasting a cleaner, brighter image. In essence the visual cues were no longer there to attract vast swathes of undesirable activity and as a result graffiti virtually stopped.

Okay, this is all well and good, but what have problems in the New York Subway got to do with crowd control?

Well, anyone who manages large crowds knows just how important the right visual cues can be. As a result if a security team is ‘heavy handed’ with the crowd (say at a large event) then there’s more of a chance of trouble brewing. Whereas if crowd control is carried out in a non-confrontational, non-aggressive way, then it’s far more likely that the security company will get the crowd to behave in an ordered manner.

Crowd surfing

Take the trend of crowd surfing as an example. It’s an inevitable occurrence that’s usually performed at rock concerts or gigs throughout the world. If handled in an aggressive way it can provoke unnecessary confrontation which can easily escalate (again, people responding naturally to environmental and visual cues). Conversely, if it’s handled in a firm but non-aggressive way, then chances are that confrontation will be avoided.

By switching the attention to the respect of people instead of focusing solely on the control of them it makes for a far safer, and better environment all round and this is what makes for good crowd control in the 21st century.

If you’re in need of a security company who are highly experienced in safe crowd control- for your Melbourne event, then look no further than MA Services Group. Contact us on 03 9994 4107 and let us show you how we can help.

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