Mayor Michael Nutter gave a press conference today regarding the flash mobs, and, according to KYW news radio, offered “more of the same,” which -- warnings and tactics he can’t yet make public.
The mayor said he’s got rapid-response teams in place to deal with mobs, even though rowdiness can be difficult to predict. The problem, he said, isn’t kids getting together. It’s when “knuckleheads” turn violent, push people around and cause trouble.
He recommended business employees and owners get involved in their communities to help stop this sort of behavior before it starts. If these small measures don’t work, Nutter may try to resolve the problem using Frank DiCicco’s plan: curfews.
While a citywide curfew may make the window of opportunity smaller, it doesn’t take too much smarts to remember the last two Center City flash mobs occurred during the day. Not to mention blogs rumoring that another may take place today at 40th and Market streets at 3pm.
The Daily News runs down yesterday’s notable quotes dealing with the flash mobs from those in power:
D.A. Seth Williams: "We need parents to be accountable for their kids. You need reasonable teenagers who, when they find out this information, share the information with us."
Sen. Anthony Williams: “Every bad parent who does things that we all would say . . . that's criminal, then guess what? It's criminal. You have to have a standard for civility."
Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Everett Gillison: “There is the right to free assembly in this country. People have the constitutional right to be an idiot."
Teens congregate on South Street for another violent flash mob. What is wrong with these kids?
Nutter, joined by State Sen. Dwight Evans, endorsed Anthony Williams for governor today. Joe Hoeffel no likey.
Philadelphians have a habit of advocating reactionary solutions to our problems. Out-of-control bike riders kill two pedestrians? Tax and fine all bikers! Pit bulls attack a couple people? Ban the breed! Black kids run wild on South Street? Lock the “savages” up and lose the key, fine their parents (most likely, their underemployed, single mother) and surveil them as they travel throughout SEPTA. Acts of violence are unacceptable and must be confronted, but we need to dial back the hysteria. By now we’ve all seen the ongoing coverage of the chaos on South Street and the three other incidents that have hit downtown since December, in the Gallery, on Market Street and on Chestnut Street. These sudden and unexpected gatherings of large numbers of mostly African-American teenagers have been dubbed flash mobs. Older folks know the phenomenon as “wildin’.” Whatever the name, these events are intense, dramatic, frequently erupt into violence and it’s clear nobody knows quite what to do about them. Worse, flash mobs aren’t the only source of violence by black youths that the city has had to confront in recent months. There’s the racial violence at South Philly High and the random “catchin’ rep” beatings in Southwest Philly. Complicating matters...
Hundreds of flash mobbers took to 30th Street Station yesterday. How delightful!