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Wed Aug 27, 2014, 09:05 PM

If Cops Understood Crowd Psychology, They'd Tone Down The Riot Gear (Great read)

I found this site today and it is really good.

http://www.fastcodesign.com/3034902/evidence/if-cops-understood-crowd-psychology-theyd-tone-down-the-riot-gear

The conventional wisdom behind forceful crowd control deserves a review of its own. Rather than passively controlling a protest, heavy riot gear actively changes the dynamics of crowd behavior, according to the best new behavioral evidence. The twisted outcome is one that too many police forces have yet to learn: the military-style equipment intended to enhance public safety often ends up threatening it.

Let's step back a moment to the classic psychological theory on crowds, which gave rise to many of the tougher approaches taken today. Originating during the political instability of 19th-century France, and later adopted by most 20th-century social scientists, this thinking held that people in a crowd lost their individuality and became suggestible to the aggressive behavior of those around them. That view gave rise to phrases like "mob mentality" and "deindividuation"--the idea of a crowd as a singular entity rather than a collection of independent people capable of thinking for themselves.

Here's where the militarization of local police becomes so problematic. Officers in full-on riot gear give all the individuals in a protest crowd a common enemy. It's not that everyone in the protest crowd suddenly assumes the identity of a violent jerk--it's that the many peaceful protestors feel a sort of kinship with the violent jerks against the aggressive police. Despite their differences, they're united by a single goal: defend against the outside force.

Psychologist Clifford Stott surveyed the latest evidence on crowd behavior in a 2009 report for British officials. Stott explained that an aggressive approach by authorities leads "directly to a change in the nature of the crowd's social identity," a shift from me and you into us and them. The result is a self-fulfilling cycle: As the crowd gains a sense of unity, the authorities become more aggressive against the unified mob they initially feared, which in turn enhances the crowd's sense of unity. Any rioting that results will be perceived as an inevitable outcome of bad crowd behavior, writes Stott, when in fact that behavior was "largely and inadvertently initiated by police tactical responses."

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Reply If Cops Understood Crowd Psychology, They'd Tone Down The Riot Gear (Great read) (Original post)
underpants Aug 2014 OP
freshwest Aug 2014 #1
Sparhawk60 Aug 2014 #2
mrdmk Aug 2014 #3

Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Aug 28, 2014, 01:33 AM

1. K&R.

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Response to underpants (Original post)

Thu Aug 28, 2014, 06:39 AM

2. The Cops Want Fear

 

Frightened people often turn violent. I think a crowd of peaceful protesters with one or two police keeping an eye on them will tend to stay peaceful. However; confront the protesters with armed and armored troops, fear will make the crowd strike out.

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Response to Sparhawk60 (Reply #2)

Thu Aug 28, 2014, 11:42 AM

3. Back in the 1970's growing up in Huntington Beach, CA the police were notorious for heavy tactics

Dressed in riot gear, shields, tear gas and other non-lethal armaments. The usual tactics were employed many times, declaring a riot at the same time moving in with riot police. The riot police would immediately start busting heads with billy-clubs, pushing people down who attempting to leave the area, having a very brutal confrontation and calling it a job well done. The police force was tapered down by the mid 1990's to a certain extent (to many lawsuits and very bad press).

Since then the demographics have changed, the police force for Huntington Beach has stayed mostly out of the news...

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