Police Warn of Potential ‘Flash Mob’ at Suburban Mall This Weekend

on May11
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2019-05-10 23:54:56

Police are warning of a potential flash mob incident being organized at the North Riverside Park Mall this weekend.

The Berwyn Police Department said information suggests a flash mob incident was being organized for Saturday. The department said it was contacting local businesses and giving them “suggestions for how to respond if a large unruly group should present itself after being dispersed from the mall”

“For our residents, we highly encourage all parents to communicate with their children about the dangers of participating in such incidents, and discourage them from going to the mall unaccompanied without an adult,” the department’s police chief wrote on Facebook. “Please make sure that your home, garage and vehicle are safely locked.”

The mall’s general manager said in a statement that its “youth escort policy” will take effect earlier than usual Saturday, instead beginnin at 2 p.m. 

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“The safety of our shoppers, retail partners and mall employees is top priority at North Riverside Park Mall,” Harvey Ahitow said in a statement. “We actively monitor social media and work with area police departments to track possible events like these. Upon seeing online posts calling for local teens to participate in a flash mob at our mall this Saturday, we immediately enacted an earlier Youth Supervision Policy for the day, alerted local police and plan for increased security staff at the mall.”

Chief Michael Cimaglia noted several flash mob incidents have occurred at the mall before. 

“In each occurrence, the Berwyn Police Department has assisted with dispersing the large groups from the mall, and ensuring the safety of life and property as many of the participants travel on foot through the City of Berwyn and Town of Cicero on their journey home,” Cimaglia wrote.

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According to the department, a flash mob is a group of people “who organize, primarily on social media, to form a sudden large assembly in a public space.” They note that while they can be organized for entertainment or artistic expression, they can also be for “engaging in rowdy and even criminal behavior.” 

Police said residents can request escorts from their vehicles to their door by calling police at (708) 795-5600.

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