Acting Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy vowed to hunt down every last thug responsible for “flash mob” incidents over the weekend and throw the book at them to get a handle on a problem that's damaging the reputation of downtown Chicago as a safe place to live, work, play, and shop, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Speaking as five teens made their first appearances in court in connection with a string of five robberies — four within a ten-minute span — on Saturday, McCarthy said police had made “in excess of 20 arrests” connected to flash mobs over the weekend.
During a break at his City Council confirmation hearing, McCarthy pointed to the arrests as proof there are enough police officers downtown, that the department's strategy is working and that shoppers, employees, and residents have nothing to fear from the large groups of teens who use violence and sheer numbers to intimidate and confuse. “Our reaction to it has been quick, it's been swift and it's been very effective,” McCarthy said. “I don't believe that it's going to be something that we need to worry about long-term. We have to knock this out. We have to knock it out quickly — and that's what we're doing. Asked whether tourists and people wanting to enjoy the lakefront should be concerned, McCarthy said, “No” but urged citizens to use common sense. “We have to be aware,” he said. “That's the nature of the world today. But nobody should be afraid of this.”