Evanston police say they’ve arrested 14 juveniles in connection with a series of three so-called “flash mob” incidents earlier this summer.

The incidents in Evanston involved groups of teenagers going into a store, creating a disturbance and then stealing items from the store.

Cmdr. Jay Parrott says the department’s juvenile bureau investigated the incidents, which occured on June 15 and 17 at the 7-11 Store at 847 Dodge Ave. and on July 16 at the Mobil Gas Station Food Mart at 1950 Green Bay Road.

He says video surveillance footage from each location helped police identify and arrest the alleged participants.

Parrott says one youth was charged in all three incidents and another was involved in two of them.

He says that because of the age of those involved, the suspects’ names and the court dispositions of the cases can’t be released.

Parrott says the city has numerous video surveillance cameras monitored on a real time basis at the police communications center and that the field operations division can deploy officers immediately if disturbances occur or a potential “flash mob” appears to be gathering.

The surveillance system covers numerous locations downtown as well as certain neighborhoods with higher than normal calls for police response.

In addition, he says, the police have the cooperation of the public in using video surveillance systems within businesses to assist in solving and preventing crime.

Parrott says the department thoroughly investigates and arrests all individuals who participate in “flash mob” incidents.

Media attention at the beginning of summer was focused on the downtown Chicago “Streeterville” neighborhood in which “flash mobs” committed street robberies on several victims.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. hmmm

    Why don't you look into why these young kids are doing what they are doing. maybe if the police dept. created some kind of meaningful social outlet for the aggression of these kids (most likely born of need) they would see a reduction in organized "flash mobbing".

    What are the kids stealing? school supplies? or food? or something they need? why isn't that info included in the story? that would make an interesting story rather than the sensationalized bravado that is fit to line my garbage can.

    1. Chicago flash mobs

      Those poor, poor children … Earlier this summer, underprivileged kids raided Michigan Ave. stores

      "At Filene’s, teens ran onto the sales floor, grabbed items then ran out. At The North Face, they entered screaming and yelling, knocking over displays and grabbing clothes worth close to $3,000." 

      At least they now have North Face clothes to shelter them from our harsh climate ….

      I'm sure the people who were beaten and robbed this summer by these mobs had "necessities of life" in their pockets too.


    2. What the kids took

      To follow up, I asked Cmdr. Parrott about the issues you raise.

      He says the teens took soft drinks and candy, and in the second incident at the 7-Eleven they also ransacked the aisles and dumped merchandise onto the floor.

      And, he added:

      In regard to the social outlets, the police have our youth services bureau that works with youth in need of intervention depending on their prior contacts with police. Some may not be eligible for this type of intervention due to a severe history already with the police department.

      We believe that extra curricular activities through the parks and recreation department, sports clubs, school and religious organizations can deter this type of behavior.

      In addition to public awareness and the public realizing that the police department will investigate these cases seriously and arrest anyone involved in this behavior, the police department wants the youth to partake in positive experiences and not get involved in anti-social behavior that is destructive and potentially creates a delinquency record with the police.

    3. It is simply naive…

      … to believe that these kids were simply responding to a lack of a "meaningful social outlet" and engaging in behavior that was "born of need".  There are many, many children who are among the have-nots in our society, but only a small percentage engage in criminal activity.

  2. Time to change law—long past

    We are decades past the time to change the law and release the names of juveniles caught committing crimes and do away with end of their jail/prison term ending when they turn 21.

    They feel they can get away with their crime, not have their names known, their record wiped clean and probably get a fraction of the jail time of non-juvenlies.  Of course older people learn they can get these kids to commit the crimes since they won't be punished or as severely.

  3. Open your house to them ?

    Maybe you and your neighbors can open up your houses for them to take what they need since you seem to think they are poor and in need.

    I suspect we will find they were taking things much more valuable than you assume and not basic necessities. 

    1. Noble Savages ? Rousseau alive and well in Evanston

      The author seems to believe these are innocent children trying to survive in a cruel world and that they are just trying to provide for their [and their families] basic needs. 

      I thought Rousseau's 'Noble Savage' who would show us all how to live a peaceful and beautiful life, was long ago abandoned.  But I guess I forgot about Evanston liberals who still hold to it—at least as long as the savages stay out of their neighborhood, there are no developments even for the middle class let along those on welfare in their community, and they can claim their taxes go to support these people and so they don't actually have to give to causes or get their hands dirty.

  4. hmmm

    Well, I was hoping for an interesting dialogue. i am not advocating any kind of anti-social behavior or any lack of punishment for crime. clearly, maybe some kind of intervention(read: education) is needed in how to manage aggressive impulse. something is causing it. there is something needed. just not sure what. and opening my home is not one response. nor did i mean to write with a quixotic temperment. what bothered me was the way the article was written. 

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