By: Courtney Harrington
Recently, flash-mobs have been a huge phenomenon all around the world. From what it seems, flash-mobs are just a group of individuals who virtually set a date and time to meet publicly and perform a choreographed performance. Law enforcement agencies have never seen flash-mobs as a threat; they were seen as merely harmless. A popular example of a flash-man, would be the AT&T wireless commercial of a flash-mob held in the Grand Central Terminal. Eventually teenagers became bored with the dancing and being goofy and turned to other motives for a flash-mob, otherwise known as flash-rob in places around the globe.
From harmless to violent, the meaning of flash-mobs has taken a turn for the worst. Teenagers all over are gathering others to rob local shops in their areas. Most believed that flash-mobs were typically, and almost always, occurring in the big cities such asPhiladelphia. However, a group of teenagers managed to rob a store inGermantown,Marylandin under a minute with the help of a creation of a flash-mob. The teens were able to get away with hundreds of dollars worth of store items. “We had always thought flash-mobs happened in big cities. We are unprepared. We don’t have anyone who has social-media expertise,” the county police spokeswoman stated.
About a year and a half ago, the Center for Social Media was created, funded by the Justice Department to help monitor online interactions through websites such as Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. Agencies all over the country are proceeding in training officers on social media and how it works. Officers have been told to make themselves approachable and to reassure potential suspects that they are in no way a threat.
As of right now, the worst run in with a flash-mob took place a few weeks ago in theUnited Kingdom. “Angry hordes” abused multiple neighborhoods aroundLondon,Birminghamand in other areas. Flash-mobs across the ocean have managed to torch buildings, beat people and vandalize private property. According to the officials, the group was started through an instant messaging service for Blackberry phones. The text reportedly stated that, “If you’re down for making money, we’re about to go hard in eastLondon.” Places likePhiladelphiaare trying to take control of the situation. The state has created a curfew that states all persons under the age of 18 must be in their homes by midnight. Parents that did not enforce this rule could potentially be fined 500 dollars.
Flash calls are a not so familiar terminology that is making its claim for fame. Groups of people pick a time to call a particular location so that the public can not get in touch with the business. As law officials all over the world are trying to figure out a way to put an end to violent flash-mobs, they will sadly continue terrorizing communities.