Chicago Media Declares War On Flash Mobs, Mayor/Police Not So Much
from the meet-me-in-the-comments-section-in-five-minutes dept
The Chicago newspapers, of course -- who have declared that these crimes are all due to "flash mobs."
Last weekend there were four violent robberies in the city's famous shopping district, most or all of which appear to have been committed by relatively large groups of people (5-15). One such incident, which has been getting the most attention, resulted in a 68 year old man having his iPad and phone stolen by a group of teenagers. In addition, a new tactic for young thieves in the shopping districts appears to be to flood a store, disperse, and coordinate a mass grab-and-run via text message. This tactic has been noticed for the past three to four years.
The result has been a mini-media frenzy around "flash mobs", even though most of the crimes reported aren't anything of the sort. Most are your standard everyday robberies, occurring in a neighborhood in Chicago where shops and shoppers (theoretically those with money to spend) are located. But four robberies resulted in a couple of press conferences, one including new Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who cautioned reporters not to...you know...make stuff up:
The new superintendent cautioned reporters not to lump all of the incidents into the same category. Some are shoplifting. Others are robberies. And on Tuesday night, there was an incident that he called completely unrelated. One group of young men solicited cigarettes from another group of young men. When one man took out his wallet to pay, a member of the other group snatched the wallet and ran.But thanks to this media attention, police are being diverted to the Magnificent Mile, an area with a relatively low violent crime rate, historically. What's interesting is how associations with certain terms can change. Flash mobs were fun. Now, thanks to a local press with an overactive imagination during a slow news week (ah, Chicago baseball teams...), Chicago is beginning to associate negativity with the term, so much so that police are being diverted from truly violent neighborhoods to the shopping district to stave off the fear of unruly teenagers coordinating their crimes via text message and social media. And if the police are reacting this way now, at the start of the summer season, what in the world are they going to do during the festival season, when destinations like the Taste of Chicago and Lollapolooza spring up?
“These three men chased ten men to get the wallet back and eventually caught up to the ten men and lost the fight. That in no way shape or form represents anything that we’ve been talking about,” he said.