Flash Mob Riots – Is Your Child Safe at her Summer Job?By Child Safety Specialist May 30, 2011 | 8:40:00 amPosted in: Child Safety
Think you know what a flash mob is? No, I’m not talking about a group of people who seem to spontaneously and randomly break out into synchronized dance. This is a new kind. Shoplifting "flash mobs" are beginning to occur all over the country. Teens gather in masses, banned together through social media and text messages to “invade” an open store, stealing merchandise, destroying property and running out. Flash mobs have been reported in St. Louis, Las Vegas Chicago, Washington, Philadelphia and, most recently, a Dunkin’ Donuts in New York City.
Many of the stores that are targeted are convenience stores and other establishments where your son or daughter might be working this summer. Not only are small business owners in danger, but employees and other customers are potential victims. Perhaps store managers will have a conversation with employees as to what do to if their store is vandalized or flash mobbed but in all likelihood they won't. Therefore you, as a parent, need to give your teen some advice on what to do if they are in this type of situation.
Foremost, your child should not try to be a hero, the most important thing is his or her physical safety. If it is possible and only if safe to do so, call 911. But, unless the police are right outside, the mob will most likely be long gone before officers arrive. Let your child that it’s OK to be scared but that he or she should try to remember that the mob is mostly there for the thrill and shock value. The only incidents of physical contact have occurred when someone tried to block their entrance or stop them.
Police are, however, now getting smarter about these flash mobs and using social media themselves to become alerted to an upcoming incident and warn teens online to stay away.
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