Organized "bash mob" crime rampages of roving groups attacking innocent people and businesses have been striking cities around the United States. Law enforcement agencies in Southern California have reported few similar problems -- until now.
In the last several days, there have been several reports of such group crime waves in South L.A., Hollywood, San Bernardino and Victorville. Long Beach police are bracing for another one Friday.
These so-called bash mobs of "flash mob" crime waves are organized through social media and have been a problem in Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington. In April, 28 Chicago youths were arrested on suspicion of attacking pedestrians along the city's famed Magnificent Mile. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation in May enacting stiffer penalties for people who text or use social media to organize mob attacks.
In Hollywood on Tuesday night, a flash mob of thieves rushed down Hollywood Boulevard, stealing phones, knocking over tourists and vandalizing shops, according to police, who said it may have been related to the George Zimmerman verdict. Twelve people — 11 juveniles and one 18-year-old -- were arrested on suspicion of robbery.
On Wednesday night in Victorville, authorities arrested 17 people after a group allegedly tried to force its way into the Mall of Victor Valley.