Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter: Anyone under 18 in those areas must now be off the streets by 9 PM. Change in the city’s curfew for two key areas — Center City and University City — on Friday and Saturday nights.
Some say that social networks like Twitter and Facebook, more and more so-called flash mobs are materializing across the globe, leaving police scrambling to keep tabs on the ‘spontaneous assemblies’. In London, recent rioting and looting has been blamed in part on groups of youths using Twitter, mobile phone text messages and instant messaging on BlackBerry to organize and keep a step ahead of police.
Flash mobs have reappeared on the streets of Philadelphia – Center City where groups of youths gravitate to a designated location at an appointed time. Once there, they become a mob that gathers force as it roams the streets, wreaking havoc on businesses while terrifying and sometimes attacking pedestrians.
They are roving groups of teenagers, flash mobs of Philadelphia, out to steal, assault, and destroy. Sometimes, the lawless acts of the flash mobs are spontaneous. Other times, they’re planned and premeditated.
“They’re 12 years old and not around the corner from their home. Where’s their parent?” said Chitwood, the Upper Darby police chief. “If they’re out doing flash mob thefts when they’re 12, what the hell are they going to be doing when they’re 16?”
social chaos is spreading
Update, an excerpt from Philly.com regarding the effectiveness of a 9 PM curfew,
A curfew wouldn’t have made a difference had it been in effect when the worst flash-mob attack occurred nearly two weeks ago in the early afternoon. Five randomly selected victims were beaten, with one ending up in the hospital with broken teeth and a wired jaw. Another violent flash mob did occur after 9 p.m. that day, this one including an 11-year-old boy seen trying to steal a man’s bag. But spontaneous thuggish behavior can’t be characterized as endemic to specific hours.
That isn’t to say a curfew won’t be useful, or that one shouldn’t be employed. But it’s important to remember that violence by disaffected youths can occur at anytime. It was afternoon when teenage predators jumped on other kids outside South Philadelphia High School.
More statements from ‘the news’,
Recently, gangs have commandeered the innocent “flash mob” and turned it into a “flash rob.” Social media is being used to organize groups of 50 to 100 young people that all descend on the same store or area and loot it.
Philadelphia, Pa. has been hit especially hard by this summer’s “Flash Robs.” So far there have been several injuries as a result of the violent robbing. The Police Department there has put in curfews for minors–with fines of up to $300 for the kids and $500 for their parents.
An accounting of one incident (CNN):
Things spiraled out of control in a flash when the group of nearly 40 teens chased them down a nearby alley. The teens began punching her male friends in the head to knock them over and then kicked them once they were down on the ground.
…was left with a sneaker imprint on his forehead, she said. At one point someone tried to take her bag, and she was punched in the face, knocking her over.
Her tibia was snapped in half, and there was a crack in the bone behind her kneecap. It is being held together with screws.
She said she doesn’t believe her race played a factor in the incident because she was with an ethnically diverse group of people.
Update, The new 9 p.m. curfew for those under 18 in Center City from Bainbridge Street to Vine Street and from river to river goes into effect tonight, Friday August 12. In University City, it will cover from Market Street to Baltimore Avenue between 38th and 43d Streets. Throughout the rest of the city, the curfew will remain 10 p.m. for children under 12 and midnight for people under 18.
Update, Saturday morning
(CNN) Philadelphia police picked up 50 juveniles for violating the city’s beefed-up curfew which took effect Friday night. An hour after the curfew took effect, police had taken 22 juveniles between the ages of 14 and 17 into custody.
(Philly.com) Commissioner Ramsey: The media coined the term “flash mobs” – it’s not the right term. I prefer the term rampaging thugs, and the juveniles who’ve been arrested for these assaults have been charged criminally with rioting.
Unprovoked Attack by Philly Teen Girls
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