Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Flash Mobs Literally Giving Police A Run For The Money

By Julius Kane

What started out as a bunch of chat room strangers meeting and dancing before disappearing into the crowd has turned into total Kaos. New groups of  strangers are meeting up but they're not interested in singing and dancing; their objective is strictly "robbing and mobbing." Violent encounters with random groups of teens has increased. These groups haven't just been running into stores and committing bold thefts, they've been assaulting onlookers standing nearby. Police across the country are still labeling these organized criminals as 'flash mobs' because of the way they use the Internet to coordinate their crimes. Surveillance cameras caught dozens of teens crowding into stores in parts of Washington D.C. and Maryland  this month stealing food, cigarettes and alcohol.

Police say these roving bands of juveniles are using Facebook, Twitter and their cell phones to coordinate strikes. In the past six months hundreds of retailers across the country have experienced multiple offender crimes. In Philadelphia city leaders created a 9 pm curfew for teens under 18. On Aug. 11th, police shut down cell phone service to certain areas of  San Francisco to combat a flash mob there. Cleveland city council proposed making it a crime to summon a flash mob via Facebook, Twitter or other social media. 

Technology is making it next to impossible for law enforcement to keep up with criminals. There are no easy answers however shutting down cell phone service violates the constitution say law experts. Law experts also point out that the breach of personal information without a warrant and shutting down cell phone services in anticipation of a crime violates civil liberties and constitutional rights. "They're going to have to find a better way," activists declare. However, once these flash mobs start running up into banks and rushing out with wads of cash, all bets are going to be off.  Every major city and state are putting together Facebook and Twitter monitors randomly checking 'friends' pages for signs of trouble. Still this may prove to be a very difficult task with Facebook users totaling in the tens of millions. It's been reported that the recent Egyptian revolution that toppled the Mubarak  government started out among Egyptian teens on Facebook.

Julius Kane is the author of 'The Fruits of Sarah Bartmaan' and 5 other titles. Visit him at:

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