In 2003, flash mobs, (loosely described as a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment), began popping up sporadically across the Country. The flash mobs have been normally organized through social media connections or viral e-mails. The phenomenon reached its zenith in 2018, when casts and crews of popular TV shows, such as “The Big Bang Theory”, organized live flash mob choreography during filming.
As of today, unfortunately, the flash mob sensation took a very dark turn. A significant uptick of bold as brass store heists, where organized mobs have hit larger chain stores, robbed them en masse and left as quickly as they entered. These stores include Nordstrom, Best Buy, Louis Vuitton and Home Depot. This trend has shaken the retail industry and created fresh challenges for the retail and private security industries and Law Enforcement. The modus operandi has remained pretty consistent. Organized through social media connections, cell phone use, or the old fashioned way, face to face communications, dozens of people swarm into the store with crowbars, guns and other weapons, breaking glass cases, and looting everything they can. The trend went critical just this past November.
“On Black Friday alone, a crew of eight made off with $400 worth of sledgehammers, crowbars and hammers from a Home Depot in Lakewood, Calif.; a group ransacked a Bottega Veneta boutique in Los Angeles; and roughly 30 people swarmed a Best Buy near Minneapolis, grabbing electronics.”
Although it’s been reported by several sources that this problem hits us on a national scale, the State of California is taking the worst of it. Just in San Francisco alone, luxury stores located in Union Square boarded up after widespread flash mob looting, and are tensely awaiting the next wave of brazen robberies.
Just recently, it was widely reported that on December 2, 2021, in Northbrook, IL, a suburb of the Windy City, a flash mob robbed a Louis Vuitton store in the middle of the afternoon, and got away with roughly $100,000.00 in store merchandise.
The City of New York in the last few months have seen a tsunami of thefts, with more than 26,000 shoplifting cases through September alone.
In just the three examples given, one would think that there would be a more a more proactive governmental or Law Enforcement approach to stemming this wave of crime. However, from all appearances, this is not the case. Fueling the fires for the organized retail criminal world is the “sweeping” Criminal Justice reforms that ostracize and stymie the Police Departments of these progressive cities and States. The elimination of cash bail, the formation of activist and overzealous Police oversight committees, and the possibility of criminal/civil action brought against a Police Officer for doing his/her sworn duty makes a terrible recipe for good government.
What is truly sad are the statements made by Representatives of Congress and the White House. In an interview with The Washington Times, just published on December 3, 2021, New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stated, “A lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out”
As insulting as Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s statement was, the response from the White House has been just as tone-deaf. At a White House Press Conference held on December 2, 2021, Press Secretary Jen Psaki made a statement when questioned by Fox Reporter Peter Doocy that the rise of flash mob robberies was due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
‘So when a huge group of criminals organizes themselves and they want to go loot a store — a CVS, a Nordstrom, a Home Depot until the shelves are clean — do you think that’s because of the pandemic?’ Doocy pressed.
‘I think a root cause in a lot of communities is the pandemic, yes, ‘Psaki said.”
As of now, retailers are faced with a serious problem, as local Law Enforcement has been severely hamstrung by Leftist policies on “Criminal Justice Reform”, and even an adequate response from our Federal Government has not been formulated. Stores have been boarded up in several cities to stem the tide of these robberies, private security expenditures have gone up drastically, and several stores have just shut down some of their locations in fear. I truly hope that this scourge will be stopped. On a brighter side, I want to wish everyone a very happy Holiday Season, and a better New Year.