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Officials: Flash Mobs Already Plague South Side

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The big guns of law enforcement gathered in the Chatham neighborhood Monday night to take part in a discussion on handling crime in the area.

As WBBM Newsradio 780's Lisa Fielding reports, dozens packed St. Dorothy Catholic Church, 450 E. 78th St., to talk with a panel of law enforcement brought together by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) The discussion was titled, "Let's Talk About It: Getting a Handle on Crime in the 6th District."

"You know as well as I – shootings, killings, and flash mobs," Rush said. "This is a new one now. Flash mobs, pepper spray assaults by young men have dominated this weekend's news. I'm disturbed because it happens on the South Side on a regular basis. It seems as though when it happens on the North Side, then it's newsworthy."

Flash mob attacks in the affluent Streeterville neighborhood just north of downtown made headlines over the weekend. Also in the headlines recently is a pair of robbers who have been attacking people with pepper spray in the North Side's Lakeview neighborhood.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780's Lisa Fielding reports


Acting police Supt. Garry McCarthy was also on hand at the Monday night discussion to talk to the residents of Chatham.

"The bottom line is that we need a collective spirit to change the way young people behave," said McCarthy.

He said the problems that occur on the South Side affect every side of the city.

"My goal here is to take this thing to a whole separate level," he said. "This isn't a police problem, it's a community emergency. And I will work with anybody that's interested in solutions."

McCarthy joined Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, FBI Special Agent Robert Grant and other law enforcement officials.

Many residents agreed that more foot patrols are needed throughout the city.

"We also need to restore the trust between residents and law enforcement," Grant said.

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