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Protect Yourself and Your Business From the ‘Flash Mob’

What is a Flash Mob?

The term “flash mob” can be used to describe a sudden social gathering  in a public place to perform some form of premeditated action. These acts tend to be unusual–and, in some cases, are a threat to those in proximity such as innocent bystanders and local businesses.

With the ever-rising popularity of social media networks, flash mobs have become increasingly frequent and, at times, harmful and disruptive. Recent events, such as the riots in London and convenience store thefts, are examples of just how fast and furious flash mobs mobilize – all made possible through social media channels and fast paced information. When crises arise, how can you protect yourself and your business from being impacted? The following are a few tips to help prevent or mitigate potential damage caused by flash mobs:

Personal Safety Tips:

  • Personal safety is key. If you are in the vicinity of a flash mob, move away quickly to a safe location;
  • Never attempt to personally intervene and stop a flash mob – immediately contact authorities;
  • Report any suspicious behavior to the police quickly;
  • Be vigilant and observant of unusual activity in your neighborhood – understand the early warning signs of a potential flash mob or fast-forming large gatherings;
  • Social media often plays a key role–if you are asked to participate in a flash mob alert the authorities so that they can prepare;
  • Monitor social media channels to see if a flash mob may be about to form; often citizens are one or two steps removed from a digital media “friend” who may be alerted.

Tips for Businesses:

  • Invest in surveillance equipment so in the even of a flash mob the thought of personal anonymity is removed from violators. People are less likely to participate in a mob situation if they feel like their identity might be revealed (contact www.s3integration.com for more information about surveillance strategies);
  • Clearly post signage on the front of your business indicating the premises is being monitored – will act as a deterrent;
  • If a mob is forming outside of your business, quickly lock your doors and windows then contact police; if the mob is inside of your store, move away to safety then call authorities;
  • Promote interconnectivity with your neighbors. Utilize all avenues of communication such as email and text messaging to spread the word about suspicious activity to area merchants;
  • Formulate a plan for what you, neighboring businesses, co-workers, and customers should do to protect one another – train for this situation before it occurs.

For more information, call a Fallston Group representative at 410.420.2001 or send an email inquiry to info@fallstongroup.com.

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