NRF issues new crowd management guidelines

Monday, October 17, 2011

YARMOUTH, Maine–The National Retail Federation has issued new guidelines for effective crowd management, this version being updated with recommendations for handling events such as criminal flash mobs.

The new report includes recommended policies and procedures for retailers and mall management staff planning special events, such as Black Friday, product launches and celebrity appearances. But it also addresses a relatively new concern about criminal flash mobs, groups of ne'er-do-wells that organize via online social networking or text messaging to perpetrate mass shoplifting or generally cause trouble. "Our goal is to assist stores and shopping centers prepare for the holiday season and other major crowd activity" such as Occupy Wall Street and flash mobs, Joe LaRocca, the NRF's VP of loss prevention, told Security Director News. "Proper planning within the company and leveraging outside partnerships such as shopping center security and law enforcement will be key again this year."

In August 2011, the NRF released a survey that said one in 10 retailers were victims of multiple offender criminals using flash-mob tactics. NRF recommends retailers monitor online social networks for potential flash mob activity.

This report offers a more thorough list of policy recommendations to handle crowd management, including implementing the proper training of new associates in anticipation of the holiday season. "Stores started Q4 sales last weekend and have already started putting out the holiday decoration and merchandise," LaRocca said. "Since many retailers are hiring throughout October and November for store associates, training will be an ongoing objective."

Download the full guidelines here.



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