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Revista de Prensa: Artículos

jueves, 29 de octubre de 2015

Applying Behavioral Analysis Techniques to Crowds and other Public Gatherings

Bill Martin
Director of Security, Crisis Intervention, Behavioral Analysis,Threat Management, Executive Protection and Trainer


Applying Behavioral Analysis Techniques to Crowds and other Public Gatherings 

As a Security Professional and Director working in a large church in New York City, I was responsible for posting the volunteer security staff throughout the premises where thousands attended weekly services. The security team certainly could have easily served as a deterrent. They could also watch, wait and respond should an incident occur. But l have found that a proactive approach is the absolute best practice in crime and violence prevention for maintaining a safe and secure place to worship. A wise man once told me that 'the more open an institution, the more vulnerable' and churches certainly fit that criteria due to their unique calling and openness to the public.  

Applying behavioral analysis techniques to crowds and other public gatherings is a very effective  tool if used properly and professionally. Behavioral identification techniques can also be applied to other open environments such as school campuses, malls, sporting events and various other public gatherings. Adequately modified and they can be also useful for semi-controlled and controlled environments.

Behavioral Identification is critical to the overall team's success. People tend to reveal certain things about themselves unconsciously and involuntarily.  The NIU Gunman Steven Kazmierczek revealed certain things about himself prior to the massacre on Feb 14, 2008. His violent and horrific actions were a shock to many including friends, family members, students and faculty . The questions that often plague us in the aftermath as a society are "Were there any warning signs ?" "Why didn't anybody see anything?" 

Body Image is one form of communicated behavior (leakage). Steven Kazmierczek was certainly revealing his thoughts , feelings, personal interests and/or passions. They were leaking out in the form of body imagery .   

The ability to be sensitized and the skills to mentally process concerning behaviors varies differently from person to person. Some have thought that simply by reading books or attending training seminars automatically equips us for the task at hand. All of our team members had been trained in behavioral identification and threat analysis, but not all were able to translate what they learned in the classroom and apply that knowledge into the real world.  I guess the operative word would be aptitude. Some of our team members did exceed our expectations in comprehending and practically applying the techniques of behavioral identification and threat analysis, which in turn became a tremendous asset to the overall teams effectiveness.   

The use of behavioral identification through the understanding of leakage (a term coined by Dr. Roger Depue Former Unit Chief of the FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit) provides many benefits. Its use and effectiveness can assist in averting much potential harm and in fact much good can even be accomplished. On one hand, I have had personally experienced wonderful reports of family restoration and many individuals are now receiving the appropriate support and help needed.

What can this type of information possibly suggest or yield to a trained team member? A quick observation of the above can possibly shed some light on what may be considered important and of value to the individual as was with Steven Kazmierczek the NIU gunman. A more careful observation may give further insight into possible self-esteem issues and attitudes he/she may have towards others and one's outlook on society. The concept of leakage provides the assessor with vital building block information.

I used the analogy of (jewelry) while expounding on leakage during a full day presentation at the Pennsylvania Institute of criminological  and Forensic Sciences. It was a great interactive exercise and tuns of fun for all the professional attendees.

Accessories like jewelry are not a functional article of clothing as are shoes, which are generally worn for comfort, style, protection and the occasion. People wear jewelry for several reasons, but in most cases it is not necessary or required to wear before leaving one’s home (unless for medical purposes). Some of the most common reasons for wearing jewelry are for fashion or sentimental value. Less common reasons are simply for attention and attitude. But either way jewelry often reveals a small piece of someone’s personality and may also give a trained behavioral analyst more building block information.   

Protective Detail Case Example:

A man is identified standing across the street on the sidewalk glaring towards our back stage door for a period of time. This is typically the ingress and egress for our high profile religious leaders and other guest dignitaries; occasionally we would change up the routine, depending on the intelligence we had and the risk/ threat level. We immediately observed his body language, dress attire, grooming, posture and possessions all a form of communicated behavior. Of course we weigh in the cultural differences. We knew someone had to make meaningful contact. We were trained to read leakage and we could not risk ignoring what we observed. We know that the eyes can intimidate, the feet can maim and the hands can kill. Having the hands visibly exposed is a must before we approach and engage, our personal safety is at risk. 

A team member safely assessed the situation and proceeded to engage the individual and learned that he was determined to contact our senior leader.  We knew he would be difficult to deter because he was mission orientated. Churches in particular will encounter individuals who suffer with varying degrees of disturbed individuals who are delusional (most are relatively harmless and need our support and help while others present safety and security risks to themselves and/or others) and we experienced our fair share.  We detained our “principal” although we did present alternative choices, but he decided to wait while the authorities took so and so in an ambulance. On a side note we were careful and sensitive to public embarrassment as we were for safety. The situation was carefully monitored and continued with discretionary follow-up in the weeks to come.     

I always advise cautiousness, because all behavior must be read within its entire context and should be assessed by a trained team of staff and/or volunteers.

Behavioral Identification is one piece of the puzzle used in the process of providing a safe and secure place of worship or workplace. A security staff that is trained in Behavioral Identification is well on their way to success and maintaining a safe place to worship. Several sequential phases follow which include the assessment portion combined with creative interventions and case management. I can speak from years of experience that this process is one key to the overall success of a proactive security/safety team.

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