- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 13, 2010


If there is any law enforcement leader who can deal with the problems that confront him, it is former Metropolitan Police Chief and current Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey (“Philadelphia to teen ‘flash mobs’: Stop it!” Nation, March 26).

As the top cop in the City of Brotherly Love, Mr. Ramsey understands the irony of the city’s nickname. With a number of his police officers murdered in the line of duty, he must deal with the latest trend: “flash mobs.”

The congregation of local middle schoolers and high schoolers on Philadelphia city streets with supposedly nonviolent purposes has ballooned into much more. Businesses have been forced to close, property damage has resulted, and innocent people have become victims of violence from assaults.

Undoubtedly, Commissioner Ramsey will deal with the problem quickly and aggressively from a law enforcement standpoint - but the issue extends beyond that. These young people need more adult supervision and should be involved in constructive activities rather than have so much idle time to spend on social-networking Web sites and cell phones to arrange these mob meetings that only lead to trouble.

It is not the job of law enforcement to be all things to all people, though sometimes their role is extended far beyond what it should be. Parents, schools and other community organizations need to step up to the plate to get these young people involved in meaningful activities that will preclude them from taking part in activities that only lead to harm.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is correct when he refers to the actions as “stupidity.” Mob members who perpetrate crime need to be held accountable for their violent and destructive actions. Stepped-up enforcement with enhanced penalties is warranted to get everyone’s attention and put an end to these flash mobs.


Adjunct professor of victimology

Marymount University

Arlington, Va.

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