Philly Cracks Down on Teen Flash Mobs

Cops warn kids joining SMS-organized gangs

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 25, 2010 3:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – Philadelphia's top cop has warned teenagers that they can go to jail for joining texted "flash mobs" in which groups of rampaging teens attack property and passers-by. Hundreds of rowdy teenagers, organized by email or text message, have gathered in downtown Philly on recent weekends and the police plan to increase manpower and tighten curfews in response, the New York Times reports.

Police have warned parents they can be held responsible for their children's behavior. The city's major rejects suggestions that cuts in city youth services are to blame for the mobs. "I don’t think people should be finding excuses for inappropriate behavior,” said Mayor Nutter. “There is no racial component to stupid behavior, and parents should not be looking to the government to provide entertainment for their children.”

Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter reassure residents of their safety and outlines the city's response to the recent unrest caused by roving mobs of unruly youths.
Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter reassure residents of their safety and outlines the city's response to the recent unrest caused by roving mobs of unruly youths.   (AP Photo/Mark Stehle)
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We will have a lot of presence in various parts of the city. It's a waste of resources when you think about all the things we could have our officers doing other than chasing packs of kids around.
- Philadelphia Police Commissioner
Charles H. Ramsey

It was like a tsunami of kids. - Seth Kaufman, 20, a pizza deliveryman assaulted by a teen mob last weekend

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