Sheriff plans crackdown on mobs that cause spontaneous riots

CLEVELAND - They give fun loving, spontaneous dancing flash mobs a bad name -- and now the sheriff has had enough.

Cuyahoga County Sheriff Bob Reid said police chiefs around the area have met and plan to crack down on riot-causing flash mobs.

Several recent events have been cancelled over growing concern from flash riots or flash crowds in Cleveland area and around the country.

After recent disturbances -- or near riots -- caused by teens on Coventry Road during a Cleveland Heights street fair in June, at a fireworks show in Shaker Heights July 4th and at Beachwood Mall back in December, local authorities are teaming up to stop the activity.

The sheriffs department and 10 east side police departments recently met to talk about the flash crowds that knock people down and vandalize businesses then run off.

The juveniles plan the rowdy flash crowds through social media like Twitter police say.

The upcoming street fair later this month in Cleveland Heights Coventry neighborhood has been cancelled and South Euclid Police  are closing Bexley Park this weekend after twitter traffic about a planned flash crowd there.

Police will do K-9 training in the park instead.

Cleveland Heights Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson is dealing with the problem head on and says the city is putting up 20 more security cameras in the business district and plan extra patrols for this weekend's popular Cain Park Arts Festival expected to draw ten thousand art lovers.

More cities are expected to quickly pass strict curfews like Cleveland Heights which prevents those under 18 from hanging out in the business district after 6pm.

Today Cuyahoga County Sheriff Bob Reid said the crackdown is on and issued a strongly worded news release regarding those who partake in rowdy flash crowds.

"The chaos and injury that these flash mobs are producing is unacceptable," Reid said in a release. "While television shows groups dancing or singing, a different kind of flash mob has also emerged, centered on creating havoc and injury by large numbers of people converging on an area and engaging in disruptive behavior."

Authorities said that the teens are planning these violent mobs through text massaging and social networking, organizing groups to meet at certain locations and then responding with violence.

To discourage this kind of activity, law enforcement officials are working with the prosecutors to review charges of aggravated rioting for anyone who participates in this kind of activity.

The Sheriff's office is encouraging anyone with information about pending flash mobs to immediately contact the Regional Fusion Center at 216.515.TIPS (8477) or 877-515-TIPS (8477).

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