On Friday evening in Peoria, Illinois, a mob of some 60 to 70 African-American youths, mostly males, terrorized a neighborhood. The Peoria Mob, as they are being referred to as, marched down a side street called W. Thrush towards a 4-lane road, Sheridan. The group shouted racial slurs including “We need to kill all the white people around here!”, according to one eyewitness. Homeowners who looked out the doors or windows were set upon as members of the Peoria Mob would surge on their front lawns and porches to intimidate the concerned and frightened citizens. Street lights were broken and occupied cars were surrounded with more intimidation focused on white motorists. Once reaching Sheridan, all four lanes of the avenue were blocked as the mob continued their angry march.

flash mob
Flash Mobs of goofs staging pillow fights, pictured above, and other forms of performance art are being displaced by roving gangs of violent youth as seen this weekend by the Peoria Mob incident.

A single white police officer was first on the scene and became subject to angry, racist threats by the Peoria Mob of black youth. The mob then split into two groups, with one proceeding north, the other south along Sheridan. By the time assistance arrived, the mob had dispersed into the night. The incident began about 11pm Central and lasted last midnight Saturday morning. Local residents, both white and black, were terrified and upset. Four other incidents have occurred in Peoria, including one where some ten to twelve youths threatened children.

As the times of these bands of roving youths have varied, police have not yet developed a strategy to deal with them, other than advising residents to be vigilant and stay indoors when they see such mobs. On June 10, two white teenagers were physically assaulted. Three young African-America men were arrested later and are believed to be part of another group responsible for another incident where four people were attacked. Officially, police in Peoria have been instructed not to discuss the situation with the press. Friday night′s incident became public after Paul Wilkinson, president of the Altamount Park Neighborhood Association, wrote an account for the Peoria Chronicle. He says that since May 17, he has witnessed five incidents of such groups involved in fighting or terrorizing the neighborhood.

The Peoria Mob incident of Friday is not so isolated an event. Nearby in Chicago, a new wave of crime involving flash mobs who suddenly swarm stores and engage in robbery and vandalism. Even the prestigious ‘Magnificent Mile’ on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue has been a victim of these attacks. Earlier flash mobs of people gathering via social network media to do crazy or silly stunts appears to no longer be satisfying for some.