NRF Compiles Guidelines for Preventing Criminal Flash Mobs


Flash mobs are fantastic when they’re done right. They bring unexpected joy and give shoppers the sense that they may find unexpected delight at your center at any moment.

But when you’re not expecting them either, they can easily turn into a disaster. They could simply be unexpected disruptions, or they could be a legitimate danger. We’ve all heard rumours of criminals that use flash mobs as a distraction for criminal activity, and now there is growing concern that criminals are using flash mob tactics like social media organization and group swarming to disorient retail employees and pull off major robberies.

The National Retail Federation’s Retail’s Big Blog has compiled some disturbing statistics:

In July, the National Retail Federation (NRF) polled 106 U.S. retail companies to gauge the impact of multiple offender crimes. Here’s what we found:

  • Over three-quarters (79%) of retailers report being a victim of a multiple offender crime in the past 12 months
  • 10% of the companies polled reported being victimized by multiple offender criminals who used flash mob tactics in the past 12 months
  • Half of these companies have experienced 2-5 incidents in the same period

You can read more of their findings in the full article here.

To help retailers cope with this awful trend, the NRF has put together guidelines on preventing and responding to these multiple offender crimes. The prevention guidelines in particular are quite relevant for centers as well as retailers, and are worth familiarizing yourself with. You may be able to help prevent a crime like this just by doing what may already being part of your job: monitoring social media for mentions of your center.

For the full document, visit this page.


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