Baltimore Curfew Center on Front Line of ‘Flash Robs’ Trend


The Baltimore Sun takes a look inside the city’s juvenile curfew center, which opened four years ago as a collaboration by police, the school system and social services to get kids off the street and away from potential harm. The center’s work has taken on a new urgency as other cities grapple with so-called “flash robs,” most notably Philadelphia, which moved up its curfew to 9 p.m. in hopes of combating large, roving groups of young people who caused mayhem there.

Though city officials said they have not seen any evidence of “flash robs” in Baltimore, there appears to have been at least one incident that fits the bill: Records show that on successive nights, groups of 10 and 15 youths robbed a 7-Eleven in July. This summer, pranks have evolved into something more serious, with authorities saying that social media tools may have been used to coordinate crimes in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Chicago and the Washington area. More broadly, the reports appear to indicate a trend of a youth crime involving large groups who use their numbers to overwhelm retailers and law enforcement officers, though not necessarily using social media.

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