Friday, January 27, 2012

The Mob Mentality



Flash mobs are created when a group of individuals text, Facebook, tweet, or use any other means to gather a group in one place for a specific purpose.  As you see, there are good and bad uses of this.  Criminal flash mobs are difficult to prevent.  They are almost impossible to prosecute unless the police or other citizens can pick a suspect out of a video.  It is very sad to view the aftermath of these groups.

It's the same mentality that draws young men and women into gangs.  It creates a sense of belonging and of being needed.  People in groups feel emboldened to perform violent acts that they otherwise wouldn't do on their own.  The majority of kids I speak with in gangs join because all their friends do and it is the only way they know to make money.  The way to stop it starts at home and in the education system.  By the time these children churn through the criminal justice system it's almost always too late.  

Can you think of ways to prevent criminal flash mobs?  Should their be additional crimes for these cases?


  1. It seems like your county has some serious gang issues. I was wondering if you could perhaps talk about the DIFFERENCES between the challenges faced by each borough in NY City (e.g. Manhattan v. Bronx v. Brooklyn, etc.) and how prosecutors' jobs in each borough differ.

    Also, could you perhaps talk about the differences of vertical and horizontal prosecution, and the benefits and costs of each?

    Sorry about the long post! Thank you in advance.

  2. I should say that these videos are not from my jurisdiction. These are great questions and I'll address each in coming posts. It will be too long for a comment.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

  3. Are there already stiffer penalties for certain crimes when committed in gang situations, or am I misremembering that?

  4. Assaults causing serious physical injury are higher crimes when committed by three or more persons. Larceny, criminal mischief, and burglary crimes do not have a gang element.

  5. Sickening. There's a new fad in St. Louis and other cities about a "Game" called knockout. Basically, a group of people randomly attack a person on the street, seeing how quick they can knock them out. In my opinion, there should be harsher punishments for ruthless crimes like these, which are hard to prevent and are extremely damaging.

  6. Thanks for the insight Quinton. I just sentenced an assault defedant who told police he and his friends were trying to see ifthey could knock someone out with one punch. I didn't know this was becoming a fad. We'll start looking out for it.

  7. Fad might be an exaggeration, but St. Louis has had 2 or 3 in a short period of time.

  8. Here in Philly we had a serious problem with flash mobs in center city (i.e. where all the tall buildings are) last year. Mostly they just beat people up. It is very, very scary. Our Mayor did a lot of things to crack down like instituting curfews and holding parents accountable for their children (as it was primarily teenagers). It has slowed considerably but it is still a very big problem. I am not sure if this constitutes a flash mob but on the 19th a Vietnam Vet was walking down the street (going to meet his wife at the bus stop) and a group of 5 teenagers walked past him and then immediately turned around and attacked him without provocation. He survived thank God but he is in very bad shape. The week before that three men beat another man to death with little provocation. I strongly doubt in either of these instances that if any one of the attackers had been alone they would have even considered attacking these men. It's very animalistic behavior--like moving with the herd. Very, very frightening. I wish there was a magical answer as to how to prevent them.