Struggling to keep up with consumer technology, Illinois legislators Saturday toughened penalties for people who use social media and text messaging to organize violent “flash mobs”.

Earlier this year, Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago saw gangs of young people turning up and intimidating and robbing tourists.  Other flash mobs have gathered at downtown transit stations.

The new Illinois law doubles the prison sentence for the crime from three to six years.

The law carries an emergency clause and takes effect immediately.

St. Louis has seen violent flash mobs in the past year.  Police in the city are now monitoring social media and using quick response units to counter problem flash mobs.

– Bob Hamilton, KMOX News


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