Philly responds to violent flash mobs

PHILADLEPHIA - August 1, 2011

"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 said.

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 Sign up for Breaking News Alerts.


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