26 of 121 DOCUMENTS

	The Boston Globe

	February 5, 2005, Saturday THIRD EDITION




	LENGTH: 807 words

	VIOLENT SOCIAL protests during the 1990s in response to police
	brutality or racism seem as much a distant memory as Rodney King.
	Nowadays, riots are likely to be celebratory, committed by
	middle-class college students who rejoice violently when their
	sports team wins an important game. During the last five years,
	happy college students on dozens of campuses across the country
	have participated in postgame looting, overturning vehicles,
	lighting fires, hurling bottles and rocks, and fighting.
	Certainty of punishment is a powerful deterrent to illegal
	behavior. In order to eliminate postgame rioting would-be
	violators must understand they cannot possibly escape being
	identified and punished. To this end, Boston Police Commissioner
	Kathleen O'Toole has promised to have officers from across the
	Commonwealth out in force tomorrow for the Super Bowl Sunday, and
	Mayor Thomas Menino has urged that colleges make clear they will
	discipline any student who participates in violent postgame
	celebrations. Referring to students who might decide to riot in
	the aftermath of a Patriots victory, Menino said this week, "Bad
	behavior will not be tolerated."

	While worthwhile, such threats of formal punishment cannot by
	themselves possibly ensure tranquility following every
	championship game. Students must first be convinced that their
	participation in a riot will inevitably have negative

	Yet being immersed in a crowd, participants often come to feel
	totally anonymous. No matter how severe the possible consequences,
	they simply do not believe they can be singled out and punished.
	Socials psychologists refer to this phenomenon as
	"deindividuation," because people in a crowd-especially in a
	spontaneous gathering of excited participantslose their individual

	To a limited extent, a far-reaching law enforcement presence
	reduces this feeling of anonymity. But, as we observed after the
	Red Sox's American League pennant victory in October, the presence
	of armed police on the streets can also exacerbate the danger,
	resulting in confrontations with students and even the death of
	innocent bystanders. In addition, it is all but impossible for the
	police to be in every area where rioting is likely to occur or to
	round up each and every violent student. Rioters know this, and it
	reduces their fear of being caught.

	An alternative crime-fighting approach would be to supplement the
	police presence by installing tiny closed-circuit television
	cameras on street lamps and buildings in order to monitor those
	areas of the city densely populated by college students, where
	rioting is likely to occur.

	To maximize the effectiveness of surveillance, potential
	riot-areas must be blanketed with cameras. Their presence must be
	publicized throughout the academic community, so that students
	become completely aware of their presence.

	Many European countries now employ public video surveillance to
	discourage crime, drugs, and terrorism. More than 1.5 million
	closed-circuit television systems monitor the streets and roads of
	English cities and towns. In the United States, such major cities
	as Chicago and Baltimore have similarly made plans to
	electronically monitor and dispatch aid in response to crime,
	terrorist acts, and traffic problems.

	Holyoke is in the process of installing closed-circuit television
	cameras in the crime-prone downtown area of the city. In Boston,
	surveillance cameras were installed last summer to identify
	terrorist threats during the Democratic National Convention, but
	have not been used extensively as a crime-fighting apparatus.

	Concerned about an erosion of personal privacy, civil libertarians
	have opposed the widespread presence of surveillance cameras to
	fight crime but fail to recognize that a pervasive police presence
	on the streets has a similar impact.

	Moreover, rioting occurs not behind closed doors, but in public
	places where everyday behavior can be easily observed. In England,
	where the ubiquitous closed-circuit television cameras have
	significantly reduced criminal activities, there is surprising
	support among citizens for video surveillance.
	It is too late for surveillance cameras to be effectively
	installed and publicized prior to tomorrow's game. But there is
	time to make preparations now for the possibility of violence
	after future sports events, including Boston's Beanpot tournament,
	the NCAA Final Four, and October's World Series.

	Rioting has become a fad among college students, taking the place
	of the goldfish swallowing, flagpole sitting, panty raids, and
	streaking practiced by previous generations.

	At some point, today's college students will tire of rioting and
	move on. In the meantime, we should keep an eye and a camera on

	LOAD-DATE: February 7, 2005


	Jack Levin is director of the Brudnick Center on Violence and
	Conflict at Northeastern University.

	Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company