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by Peter Moskos

August 17, 2011

Flash Mob steals from 7-11

In Germantown, Montgomery County, Maryland.

Anybody got any ideas how to prevent this?

Is it possible to lock everybody inside the store? Certainly if catch one of the kids, it would be pretty easy to get them to snitch. But then what? It would take a lot of police work simply to bring shoplifing charges against a lot of kids.


Anonymous said...

Sure, it would be a lot of work, but without at least trying the next set of kids will decide they can do it, too. Nip this one as close to the bud as possible.

David said...

I think you stop it with informants. Let some kids skate on minor charges in exchange for this intelligence. Get the flash mob texts forwarded to detectives before they happen. Also, add conspircay charges?

PCM said...

I'd also make every parent in school for whatever grade most of these kids are watch the video. I bet a lot of these kids come from surprisingly "decent" families. And I'd bet of lot of their grandpa's still have a belt around somewhere.

PCM said...

At a practical level, juvenile police informants can be a very tricky matter.

Marc said...

Why does it have to be a police issue? They aren't violent and the store is insured so the owner is getting paid regardless. Let the insurance company come up with a solution.

PCM said...

Because it represents a decent toward Hell and the downfall of civilization as we know it.

OK, that may be a bit extreme... but I don't like mob rule. Or trust a mob. I think this is a perfect example of a "broken window" that left unchecked turns into more serious crime. To use Jane Jacob's term, I don't want to the let the "barbarians" win.

Marc said...

That's an interesting thought. When my car was broken into in Philly they didn't even send out a cop to take a report. the 311 (non-emergency) operator just told me "we'll call you back," some desk jockey called me a couple hours later, took a report over the phone and sent me a condescending pamphlet on "securing your vehicle from theft" in the mail. Why not do the same for 7-11?

What makes you think the cops are more capable of handling this than multiple international corporations with invested interests? Lock them inside the store? With the employees? No one working at 7-11 makes enough money to deal with that shit and 7-11 isn't going to want that sort of liability. They already ban their employees from defending themselves.

PCM said...

I was thinking the employee runs out the back and then locks all the doors.

Corporations can deal with this, but won't they deal with it by pulling out of the neighborhood. That's not good for anybody, not the least of whom is the immigrant owner who bought a franchise by mortgaging his oldest child.

And once the corporations leave, they're replace, if at all, by shitty corner stores with owners hiding behind plexiglas. Nobody wins (except the makers of plexiglas).

You do make a good point that public police should not be working for corporations (take copyright infringement, for instance). But I see this as a much greater issue of public safety. There have been some innocent people who have taken serious beatings in Chicago at the hands of flash mobs. Not exactly the same circumstances, but related, I would say.

Jon Minton said...

I believe something like this happened in London recently, but on a larger scale.

PCM said...

I don't know. London was (it is over, right?) a more typical urban riot in that it started because of some real or perceived police misconduct. It involves anger and destruction along with gleeful destruction and looting.

The 7-11 is, to some extent, kids being kids, getting away with something because they can.

But it still does have to be condemned and stopped.

Jon Minton said...

I think it's both, beginning as a conventional protest against perceived unjust behaviour, then quickly transforming into a perceived social license, as far as large numbers of members of a social underclass were concerned, to get stuff they want but can't afford. Social networks and social media allowed groups of young people to congregate and dissipate from moment to moment, meaning they could appear in large numbers where police levels were low, then run away along dozens of separate back-alleys whenever the police became too concentrated. It's in this sense I think there was a lot in common with the flashmob phenomena the video shows.

PCM said...

Good point. Certainly in terms of tactics, if not cause.

IrishPirate said...

Methinks the idea that these kids all know one another may be wrong.

This type of stupidity has been happening in downtown Chicago fairly frequently recently. The kids use social media to meet up and then rush into stores and start grabbing stuff. They've hit everything from Walgreens on Michigan Avenue to higher end stores.

It's gotten some media coverage, but the stores and CPD are downplaying it. Bad for business and all.

My first thought about how to deal with it involves super soaker squirt guns filled with fluorescent paint and predator missiles. However, some liberal people might object to the negative environmental effects of the paint.

I do know that somehow "the man" needs to find a way to deal with this stupidity.

Flogging comes to mind, but even though the "flogging" book sits on my coffee table I have yet to read it. I shall read it first, before suggesting an appropriate punishment for the young scalawags.

It does need to stop though because when you're dealing with the teenage brain the line between this crap and violence can easily be crossed.

PCM said...

If you can't flog a "scalawag," who can you flog!?

Anonymous said...

This was done in my day, albeit in a more subtle fashion. The target was a rack of porno fiction by the door.

Presumably, these are kids on the way home from school. The classic defense IIRC is to limit entrance to a few at a time.

Failing that, these kids are all on tape. It shouldn't be too hard to identify them.

IrishPirate said...

pour encourager les autres

pour encourager les autres

Which translated from ze French roughly means flog their young butts as an example to the other scalawags.

If that doesn't work then bring in the predator missiles. I'm guessing that the rate of scalwaggery would drop sharply if a few 7/11 twinkie "thievers" were blown to bits in the parking lot.

Of course collateral damage to the Slurpee machine is possible. Leave no slurpee behind.

Anonymous said...

Wow, numerous posts on this video but no one mentioned the most obvious thing that this and all of the other recent flash mob activity that I've heard of has in common. They were all.....wearing clothes.

Sorry, I couldn't bring myself to say it and risk losing my "socialy-liberal-yet-pro-cop" creds.

This was just shoplifting, but many of these flash mobs are brutally violent toward people with less melanin in their skin. I guess that is not a factor in some people's minds.

Sorry, I have to go put my head back in the sand.

{nUtTyPrOfFeSsOr} said...

i think they probably do come from average families, but obviously no background in what is right and wrong. anyone notice that one white teen in the video? me neither. Why do they have $150 sneakers and $500 smartphones but steal candy? Ignorance i thinx

PCM said...

Anonymous, If you read my blog or my books, you should know have little problem talking about race and crime without much concern for being politically correct (see, for instance, "the racial reality," from Feb 19, 2011). I mean, hell, it's not like anybody forced me to post the video in the first place.

But you make two other points:

1) Everybody stealing in the video is black. Yesss, and... so what? That's obvious. We can see it. I suspect it's a black neighborhood. And just how does pointing out the obvious help us understand or prevent this action? If it did, I probably would have mentioned it. I don't think it matters any more than the race of the clerk. Is he Indian? I can't tell.

2) You say, "flash mobs are brutally violent toward people with less melanin in their skin." Well that's just not true. Well there has been at least some incidents. Wisconsin does come to mind, but I'm not even certain the incident at the state fair was a flash mob. But no, attacking lighter skinned people is not the S.O.P. of the average criminal flash mob. The average criminal flash mob--as opposed to the average song-and-dance flash mob I'm rather fond of--commits crime.

When crime happens in nice rich neighborhoods and the victims are white, it makes the news. When it happens in poor minority neighborhoods (I'm assuming, but do not know, as in this video) it does not make the news. At least not unless there's a hell of a video.

Most crime is intra-racial. Blacks (not whites) are the victims of most black crime.

There are black racists and white racists. And just think, if they come in equal numbers, there are 7 whites racists for every black racist. This is an overlooked fact that matters tremendously. It means that if more than 13% of non-blacks are racist (a reasonable assumption), then blacks are out numbered by racists. Meanwhile if 13% of blacks are racist, each black racist would be outnumbered approximately 35 to 1. Which gang of idiots do think is more of a threat?

Assuming you're not black (another reasonable assumption), you might be racist. You see the video and see race; I see crime.

Anonymous said...

First off, I wasn't saying that you should be the one to mention the obvious, there were just many comments in response to the video completely ignoring it.
To answer your points;
1. I think the race of the offenders does matter. Is there a reason that groups of black youth are getting together to commit crimes against people of other races? Understanding why could lead to a solution. (I understand it goes beyond this shoplifting video.)

2. You must not have heard of the recent "flash mob" activity in
Chicago, Philly, Milwaukee...any others? Look them up and you will see the racial aspect of these mobs.

I realize most black crime is committed against other blacks, but is your video part of a trend of one race attacking innocent members of another race?

You are right, I am white, and seeing race in this video must make me a racist. But unlike you, I was aware of some recent "flash mob" activity that may have given me a different perspective on this video.

PS-I'm sorry if I missed the story about the white flash mob running through the black neighborhood threatening people.

PCM said...

I don't see these flash mobs as racially motivated. The blacks in this video, I would guess, did not say, "let's go rob the White Man's store?" (or Arab store, whatever the case may be.)

They did say, "Let's meet at the 7-11. It's going to be crazy."

At least that's my take.

Just because the criminals are black doesn't mean it's racially motivated. Just because the criminals are black and the victims white doesn't make it racially motivated.

Now there are racially motivated crimes out there. Yes there are. But I'm still baffled as to how you perceive that from watching this silent video.

Anonymous said...

I know you're smart enough to realize (as I've noted) that my comments refer to the general trend of recent criminal "flash mobs", not this one video.
If there were a mob of black people beating on white passers by and pointedly letting black passers by escape the beating would that convince you of some racial motivation?
Maybe you have not been watching the news in the last couple of months, Philly, Milwaukee, Chicago and D.C. have all had mobs of black youth beating up on white people. If you want to ignore it, fine. I think there is a reason for it, and it doesn't help to solve a problem by denying that it exists.

PCM said...

Now I do realize that your comments were in general and not based on the video. I was not smart enough to realize that based on your first comment.

If mobs were beating on whites and letting blacks escape, absolutely that would tell me it's racially motivated. Has that happened?

Honestly, and I may be wrong, my impression is that has not been the case in any place other than Wisconsin, maybe. And even there I only base my "facts" on a few things I've heard. If it racial, then indeed, it needs to be addressed.

But my basic point is that flash mobs are not generally racially motivated. I may be wrong. But that is where I'm coming from.

PCM said...

"PS-I'm sorry if I missed the story about the white flash mob running through the black neighborhood threatening people."

Maybe not a flash mob, but still, here's one case: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/us/23jackson.html?src=recg

Anonymous said...

"If mobs were beating on whites and letting blacks escape, absolutely that would tell me it's racially motivated. Has that happened?" Sadly yes, read the descriptions of the Wisconsin state fair incident.

BTW-Your example seems to have happened in the parking lot of a seedy hotel (not a black neighborhood) at 5 AM. There also seems to be a big anti-gay aspect to this incident. Not trying to nit pick but obviously and rightly because the victim died it was taken more seriously.

I would love to be able to say there was only one recent incident of the type I'm referring to but there have been many. Look at this article from a conservative website...if only for the links.


I'm not saying that these incidents are signs of the apocalypse but shouldn't we call them what they are?

Leonard said...

Anybody got any ideas how to prevent this?

Sure. For one, allow private racial discrimination. No blacks allowed in store ==> no flash mob. Or, similar in effect, only a few blacks allowed in the store at any one time.

Allow store owners and their deputized managers to use deadly force to apprehend shoplifters, including the right to shoot anyone who resists arrest. One man with a gun can control a mob -- if he's willing to kill. Adapt the law accordingly. Heavily publicize successful resistance.

And there is always the progressively-allowed solution, which is just for all businesses with significant proximity to "youths" to fail or relocate away. Of course progressives hate this, but at least it's religiously permissible assuming that you don't mention the actual cause of the store relocating.

Then there are technological solutions. There are cameras there. Identify the mob, and whip them; 2 lashes apiece. Change the law so that participation in a flash mob is itself criminal; then you don't have to actually prove that a person took anything, just that he was there.

One more key element is to create responsibility for the actions of the young in parents or guardians, or state apparachiks. Change the law so that one adult is responsible for the actions of each youth. That adult should get half the lashes applied to the youth in the event of youth malfeasance.