Crime

Philadelphia officials meet tonight on flash mobs

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Action News has learned that a private meeting will be held on Tuesday evening involving numerous Philadelphia agencies as they seek to combat the ongoing problem of violent flash mobs.

The meeting will include Philadelphia Police, including Commissioner Charles Ramsey, the managing director's office and the city solicitor's office.

A formal announced on a coordinated response is expected to be announced next week. The plan will include enforcement options, prosecution, social response, counseling and neighborhood outreach.

"I'm working with the mayor, the police commissioner, Judge [Kevin] Dougherty over at Family Court, DHS to come up with a collective way, a collaborative way, to try to prevent these types of events from happening," Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams told Action News on Monday.

It was just last Friday night that a mob of 20 to 40 kids, including an 11-year-old boy, attacked two people at random in Center City. Four young people including the 11-year-old were arrested and charged in the incidents.

"When something like this happens we have to do all that we can to prosecute these people and I've assigned the chief of my juvenile court unit to handle this case herself," Williams said.

It's the latest in a rash of violent flash mob incidents across the city which have alarmed both citizens and officials. A number of people have been injured and stores and businesses damaged in the wake of the incidents and fights that break out by unruly teenagers.

"We have a whole mindset and culture now where these types of random assaults are fun or that you should videotape them and put them on YouTube; that's just unacceptable," Williams said.

Mayor Michael Nutter's office announced that next week, the Mayor, DA Seth Williams and others will unveil a coordinated response to address not just the growing problem from a law enforcement stance, but the culture that promotes the myth that it's a fun and cool thing to take part in with no dire consequences.

Additionally, the Philadelphia Police Department announced Safecam, an online initiative that allows residents and businesses to register their security cameras with police.

"A person will only be contacted if a crime occurs within a specific area in which there is a camera located. PPD detectives would reach out to that person and work in partnership to retrieve the surveillance video," Kareema Zedan of the PPD said.

The Safecam registry can be found on the police department webpage at phillypolice.com. It can be completely confidential or if you want people to know about it and use your camera as a deterrent, they'll give you a Safecam decal to place on your window.

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Tags:
philadelphia, pennsylvania, center city, flash mob, crime
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