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  • Writer's pictureSam Wilks

The Evolution of Barricades: From Physical to Psychological


In the ever-evolving landscape of security, the transition from physical barricades to psychological barriers marks a significant shift in how societies approach the concepts of safety and crowd management. This transformation, while subtle, has profound implications for our understanding of human behaviour.

Historically, physical barricades were the primary means of controlling crowds and ensuring security. These tangible barriers, ranging from walls and fences to checkpoints, represented a clear, visible line between safety and potential danger. These barriers, while effective in their immediate purpose, often fail to address the underlying economic and social factors that lead to unrest and disorder.

The role of understanding the individual psyche and collective unconscious in shaping behaviour is vital. A physical barrier may stop a person, but a psychological barrier can influence and guide their thoughts and actions, often without their explicit awareness.

While physical barricades can deter criminal actions, they do little to alter the intrinsic motivations that drive such behaviour. This understanding paves the way for a more nuanced approach to security, one that goes beyond mere physical deterrents. This involves understanding the mindset of potential threats and using this knowledge to create environments that are inherently less conducive to harmful actions. This approach focuses on anticipation and preparation rather than mere reaction.

By altering the physical environment in subtle ways, it's possible to influence behaviour and reduce the likelihood of criminal activity. This strategy relies heavily on psychological principles, manipulating the environment to create a sense of security and deter potential offenders. The use of surveillance, data analysis, and predictive modeling allows for a more proactive approach to security, identifying potential threats before they materialize.

Crowd psychology and management underscore the importance of understanding group dynamics in maintaining order. Most crowds act lawfully, and understanding the psychology behind crowd behaviour can be instrumental in preventing disorder. Effective communication, both in terms of conveying information to the public and in understanding the narratives that drive group behaviour, is a critical component of psychological barricading.

The evolution of barricades from physical to psychological represents a paradigm shift in our approach to security and crowd management. By integrating the economic and psychological insights and applying the practical knowledge of security trainers, we can create safer, more secure environments that address the root causes of unrest and disorder. This holistic approach, focusing on the psychological aspects of security, is not only more effective but also more in tune with the complexities of human behaviour. From the author.


The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.

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