As times get tougher, the nature of crimes and the rate will go up. Recently a Walgreens Drug store in Pennsylvania was in the news when a flash mob of 60 teens vandalized and stole merchandise.
When a store is overwhelmed with that many people, a lot of damage and theft can occur in mere minutes. With police response times being what they are in most places, by the time they arrive, the damage is done and the perpetrators are long gone.
When the perpetrators are minors, the potential consequences of their actions are not enough to dissuade them from this type of behavior.
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- Examples of flash mob looting
- Walgreens Drug Store
- Casey’s General Store
- Apple Computer Store
- North Face
- Consistent theft and crime leads to stores closing and lost jobs in communities.
- You want to avoid being in the crossfire if someone chooses to react with a weapon.
- Employees often have no incentive to go above and beyond. If the business is operated by owners there is more incentive for them to take drastic action. A clerk making $14 an hour is likely not going to make any attempt to stop a looter. They make the same wage no matter what.
- Things To Watch Out For
- Sudden increase in foot traffic at entry points
- Be especially aware of odd patterns for the time you are shopping
- Watch out for gathering crowds in parking areas and at entry points.
- Tips For Staying Safe
- Know where all the exits are at stores you shop at often. If you are somewhere you don’t normally shop , make it a habit to look for exit points when you go in.
- Keep calm and do not antagonize any perpetrators. They may be looking for an excuse to get more aggressive and if you draw the wrath of one, then you are risking drawing the wrath of the entire group.
- Consider what aisles are most dangerous to be in.
- Flash mob looting can be part of a larger organized crime unit.
- Flash mob looting happens fast, with thieves often doing all the theft and damage within minutes.
- It is also pretty clear that a lot of flash mob looting is just people trying to cause trouble and not really taking any real major items.
- Keep your wallet or purse where it cannot be easily snatched.
- Consider hiding at least briefly or gradually making your way to an exit if the mob appears to be intent on staying for longer than average. Remember that most flash mob lootings are over in under a minute sometimes so you may be able to hide and avoid getting hurt or robbed.
- If crime seems to be on the rise in your area, consider spending less time at brick and mortar stores.
- Flash mob looting may become a lot worse during a natural disaster or if there are protests and riots anywhere in the area.
Examples of flash mob looting
Some of these examples are from 2018 but I am including them because they show how fast a store can lose a lot of expensive merchandise. I have also included some of the more recent events.
July 4, 2019 10:00 pm
Approximately 60 young people rush into the store and cause $7,000 in damage in mere minutes. This incident was relatively low in terms of damage compared to some others on our list but over time damages and more frequent incidents can really add up at a store. If people get away with it once, it sets a precedent for people to think they can do it again.
July, 5 2018 10:30 pm
Des Moines, Iowa
After a local fireworks show, a flash mob entered the store and began looting.
July 7, 2018
An Apple computer store had $27,000 in merchandise stolen by a flash mob in just 26 seconds. That is a huge loss in such a short period of time.