Grade schoolers tell police to improve crowd count-A A +A
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
GRADE six students have proposed a way for the police to make crowd estimates “realistic.”
In a letter to Sun.Star Cebu, the grade six math class of Frobel iSchool questioned the crowd estimates made by the police and the organizers during the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) rally last Feb. 11.
Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Mariano Natuel Jr. gave the most conservative estimate of 25,000 people during the rally. Team Rama officials, who are affiliated with UNA, estimated the crowd to be at least 50,000. One police official even said that at least 80,000 people were present at the peak of the rally at 8 p.m.
But the grade six math class at Frobel iSchool, located on V. Rama Ave., Cebu City, said only Natuel’s estimate was “plausible” and this was only “under certain conditions.”
The letter did not identify the conditions, however.
“We know an estimate, by its nature, is not accurate, but it should also be realistic,” the students stated.
To give a realistic estimate of the size of the crowd, the children suggested that the police get the land area of the event’s venue and use this to calculate the average number of people who would fit into the space.
The students, using population density calculations, said about five to six persons would fit into one square meter, with six being too tight.
In 1967, American journalist Herbert Jacobs developed a method to estimate crowds. The
method involves pacing the length and width of the crowd site and adding the two figures. The sum is then multiplied by seven for loosely assembled gatherings and 10 for densely packed crowds.
Jacobs estimated that in an average crowd, a person occupies six to eight square feet of space while in a densely packed assembly, an average person would take up four square feet.
The number of participants at the UNA rally became an issue of contention for rival political groups.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said the UNA was able to draw in many people. He scoffed at the Liberal Party’s (LP) suggestion that UNA and Team Rama brought people to the rally.
“Hilas. Mura jud sila'g wala kasuway og hakot (They’re hypocrites. They sound as if they have not hauled participants to an event),” he said in his regular press conference yesterday.
Rama also said he will call on barangay officials and ask them if were able to attend the UNA rally. If they have not, he will ask them to explain why.
“If this is a campaign, we need to so some counter-checking,” the mayor said.
The LP said it will not make a stopover in Cebu City despite the pronouncement of Rep. Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district) that he has booked the Cebu City Coliseum for the LP senatorial candidates.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 19, 2013.