Crowds are groups of many people in large numbers at a certain location and
time. The statement implies that crowds are unmanageable at times and especially
so in the future. It also implies that trouble is caused by increasingly
disorderly behavior of some people in crowds.
Why is there increasingly errant
behavior of people in crowds which cause them to be difficult to manage?
Perhaps, these stressful times and an increasing erosion of moral values prop up
decadent conduct especially that in the observance of decent order in a large
mass of people. However, the question requires us to examine not the causes for
errant crowd behavior but how to control this increasingly difficult task of
managing crowds. For this, the author proposes that we examine the different
types of crowds which may turn unmanageable.
Let us begin with a shopping crowd. A crowd in a shopping centre is
invariably drawn to it because of its popularity. As in any crowd situation,
security personnel is important in controlling possible disorderly behavior of
large numbers of people. There must be sufficient guards with communication
devices to ensure an orderly environment. Crowds are increasingly drawn to
sales. I would suggest that promotions on heavily discounted items be done on
non peak hours on weekdays. In this way, there would be a reduction in the
numbers of shoppers and the propensity for
disorder. A queue or draw lots system for popular sales items could also be
implemented. The last thing any store should do is to have popular sale items in
open bins. This would simply invite a frenzy of pushing and shoving to get hold
of these items.
A football crowd is different from a shopping crowd. There is more of a male
presence and an increased predilection for
violence in a crowd which turns uncontrollable. Besides increased security
personnel, perhaps the entrance gates may be opened earlier for a popular match.
An eye should be kept on gatecrashers and troublemakers who stir up the crowds.
Liquor and any possible material for missile throwing should be disallowed.
Guard dogs and police patrols stationed near the railings separating players and
the crowd should be employed in case the fans get physically abusive or
agitated. Of course, riot police could be used as a last measure.
Crowds visiting exhibitions would also require our attention to certain
details. The car parks should be closed if there are too many people and the
entrances monitored for increased flow of people. Lines should be kept moving
and for popular exhibits, a limited time should be set for viewing.
Festival celebrations and street parties which attract large crowds of people
also need control measures. Points where people are likely to
congregate need to be monitored to avoid
overcrowding. A crowd intending to view fireworks would arrive early. I remember
the recent opening of the Arts Centre in Singapore. The crowds at the Esplanade
were kept entertained by buskers and musical performances. This was to foster a
good mood in the spectators. When the fireworks lit up, the large crowd was
orderly and peace-loving even though they had waited a long while and they were
standing shoulder to shoulder in certain spots.
Hence, these are the suggestions I have given to control crowds which are
increasingly difficult to manage.