One problem with defining the flash mob problem is conflicting reports on the severity of particular incidents.
Thursday there was a flash mob at Kings Plaza Shopping Center in Brooklyn. How bad was it?
According to the New York Post story linked above:
A wild flash mob stormed and trashed a Brooklyn mall, causing so much chaos that the shopping center was forced to close during post-Christmas sales, sources said Friday.
More than 400 crazed teens — who mistakenly thought the rapper Fabolous would perform — erupted into brawls all over Kings Plaza Shopping Center in Mill Basin on Thursday at 5 p.m., sources said.
The troublemakers looted and ransacked several stores as panicked shoppers ran for the exits and clerks scrambled to pull down metal gates.
“They were playing the ‘knockout’ game,” said Shante, a 21-year-old perfume merchant, in reference to a violent trend in which teens try to knock out an unsuspecting victim with a single punch.
However, this CBS NY report makes things sound pretty chaotic, but a whole lot less criminal:
“There were reports of minor damage and no store owners reported any thefts.”
Well either looting occurred or it didn’t, but you would think thefts would have been reported if stores had been “ransacked.” Did the “minor damage” consist of decorations being knocked over or windows being smashed?
All sources agree that some fights broke out (though video of that seems to have been pulled from YouTube).
There was also reports of black-on-white racial attacks in the same neighborhood back in October.
And what does The New York Times have to say? Either my Google-fu is weak, or a mini-riot at a mall in the city it ostensibly covers is simply beneath The Gray Lady’s notice, as I couldn’t find any online coverage.
More on racial tensions in Brooklyn and the knockout game.
Edited to add: Gothamist seems to have some non-embeddable videos off of Facebook. What’s shown there seems slightly on the “rowdy” side of the “rowdy/criminal” divide. I would have been concerned had I been there, but I didn’t see any window smashing or looting. Caveats on limited viewpoints and small sample sizes apply.