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Preventing Crowd Violence

NCJ Number
Tamara D. Madensen, Johannes Knutsson
Date Published
248 pages
This book presents concepts designed to improve police functions related to preventing crowd violence: good planning, understanding freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, communication with and understanding of the crowd and their legitimate aims, nonaggressive police behavior, and problem-oriented policing.
The chapters, each of which is written by a different author or authors, combine descriptions of theoretical frameworks with detailed case studies of crowd events, analyses of police tactics, and strategic principles for crowd management. Following the introductory chapter, the next five chapters address advances in social psychological perspectives on crowd behavior. Chapter 2 reviews the G20 demonstrations in London and offers four new public-order policing principles based in recent approaches to crowd psychology. Chapter 3 discusses the implications of the Elaborated Social Identity Model of crowd behavior and demonstrates the need for particular strategic approaches when policing football crowds. Chapter 4 identifies mechanisms that trigger and escalate crowd violence, using systematic observations of 60 football matches and 77 protest events. Chapter 5 examines the relationship among the organizing processes of crowds, police reaction toward protesters, and crowd violence. Chapter 6 uses a major transnational protest and the Flashpoints Model of Public Disorder to illustrate the benefit of a contextualized approach when examining the nature and impact of policing tactics. The book's last four chapters introduce an alternative, yet complementary, paradigm for understanding and managing crowd behavior, i.e., environmental criminology. One of these chapters systematically applies the principles and theories of environmental criminology to crowd-related crime and offers five crowd-management principles that stem from this perspective. A second chapter uses an environmental criminology theory, situational crime prevention, in explaining the success of a New Year's Eve crowd management strategy. The remaining two chapters show how principles of environmental criminology were applied in other crowd situations. Chapter notes, an extensive bibliography, and a subject index