No, we’re not talking about the fun, break-out-in-song type. This type of flash mob involves several people (sometimes up to 40 individuals) walking into a store to overwhelm employees and steal merchandise as quickly as possible.
The strength of flash mobs lies in their numbers. When a crowd suddenly walks into a shop and wreaks havoc, it can be difficult to react properly. And in many cases, robbers walk out of the store before employees even know what’s happening.
So how do you prevent and respond to flash mobs? Here are some tips:
Retailers should work closely with law enforcement to spot and report potential flash mobs. For instance, if you or employees see unusually large groups of people in your vicinity, you need to alert the authorities and your mall guarding company right away.
Social media can also pave the way for flash mobs. People involved in these crimes may plan and coordinate using social networks, so keep an eye out for any mentions of your store or general area.
Retailers re-position employees in the store to discourage flash mobs. One thing you could do is put associates in key areas or near high-value products (since these are usually the target of people who participate in flash mobs.)
And if a flash mob does take place, don’t attempt to fight back as this could lead to violence. Instruct employees and customers to retreat into a secure part of the store.
In other words, stay safe and let your surveillance cameras and the proper authorities do the work.