Nutter says city planning a flash mob strategy

Thousands of young people filled South Street during a flash mob incident on Saturday. (Randi Sargent /

Mayor Nutter urged parents and guardians to help the city as it works to control a recent series of “flash mobs," the sudden gathering of hundreds of teens at sites throughout the city. While the vast majority of participants have been non-violent, there have been some reported assaults, and authorities are worried that the episodes could erupt into broader violence.

"People are still allowed to get together in variety of places throughout the city, that’s one of the wonderful freedoms that we enjoy as Americans. But there are limits in terms of appropriate behaviors and activities," Mayor Nutter said.

Nutter said the city would soon be announcing a series of steps designed to deal with the flash mobs. He would not say exactly when those measures would be announced.

The gatherings are organized on social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook. City officials have taken to monitoring some sites, but Nutter said it was "difficult to always know what's going on on the Internet."

The mayor urged parents and guardians to "keep better track of their children: know where they are at all times, discourage negative, inappropriate or violent types of behavior."

Anyone breaking the law at a flash mob would be punished, Nutter said.

"The negative behavior is completely unacceptable and we will deal with that very swiftly," he said. "If young people want to get together in various parts of the city they need to be very mindful of what’s appropriate and what’s not."

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