National Retail Federation Updates Crowd Management Guidelines

Section 4 is devoted to flash mobs, both criminal and comedic. NRF said in its recent Criminal Flash Mob report, 10 percent of retailers said they have been a victim of a multiple offender crime.

The National Retail Federation has released its 2011 Crowd Management Guidelines and recognized in them the growing problem of criminal flash mobs. The guidelines were created in collaboration with retail loss prevention executives ahead of this year's holiday shopping season. They examine expected and unexpected factors in managing large crowds.

"Many families make holiday shopping an important tradition, and retailers' main goal is to make that experience a safe and pleasant one," said Joe LaRocca, NRF Senior Asset Protection Advisor. "Crowd management is not taken lightly for retailers, who plan ahead for months in anticipation of large events with practice runs, a well-trained staff, and a thorough analysis of the company and its customers."

This third edition of the guidelines includes new insights on multiple offender crimes, a/k/a criminal flash mobs, and organized events or protests. Highlights include:

  • Recent examples of flash mobs, both criminal and comedic
  • Insight on how to handle celebrity appearances and organized events, including Occupy Wall Street
  • Analysis from a recent NRF Criminal Flash Mob report, in which one in 10 retailers said they have been a victim of a multiple offender crime
  • An appendix that retailers may find useful for training store associates on how to respond to flash mobs or criminal flash mob incidents

The guidelines also offer specific checklists for retailers to use when working on a crowd management plan. According to the guidelines, event type, staffing and training, communication, physical and environmental considerations, and line formations are among the factors retailers should take into account for their emergency and crowd control plans.

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