To deter violent “flash mobs,” state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago) is co-sponsoring a measure to toughen penalties for perpetrators using electronic communications and social media to organize violent mobs.
“The combination of warm weather, longer days, and more people visiting our city creates the prime conditions for increased crime,” said Feigenholtz. “Violent flash mobs are an issue our communities, neighbors, and tourists have dealt with for the past several summers.”
In “flash mob” attacks, large groups of people, typically youth, assemble and create chaos, beat and mug pedestrians, and otherwise create a disturbance with or without violence. These mobs are an ongoing public safety issue in downtown Chicago, Near North neighborhoods, and along popular tourist thoroughfares. In most of these mobs, youth use social media to determine and notify others of the mob’s scheduled time and location.
Senate Bill 1005 targets these violent flash mobs by allowing the courts to impose extended sentences for anyone convicted of using electronic communication, such as Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media, to commit mob action or solicit others to participate in these crimes.
“Law enforcement is doing everything they can to keep these attacks from happening and bring the perpetrators to justice, and this measure will give them another means of deterring this violent activity,” Feigenholtz said. “Giving the courts the flexibility to impose an extended sentence term will ensure that we can prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law and disband the core organizers of these groups engaging in this kind of reckless criminal activity.”
For more information, contact Feigenholtz’s constituent services office at (773) 296-4141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.