Governor Quinn signed into law Saturday new legislation that allows judges to impose harsher penalties on people who use social media or other methods of electronic communication to organize mob attacks.
The new law aims to deter the use of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to organize groups of violent flash mobs in business districts and residential neighborhoods, officials said.
“We have a serious problem with the use of social media to cause harm to people and properties,” Gov. Pat Quinn said.
As summer months approach, concerns of mob attacks are on the rise.
Last month, more than two dozen teens were arrested after groups began randomly attacking each other and pedestrians along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.
Earlier this year, hundreds of teens mobbed Ford City Mall on the Southwest Side, causing dozens of arrests and multiple injuries.
"We see it virtually every year when the weather gets warm,” Supt. Garry McCarthy said after the Mag Mile attacks. “We were deployed, we were right on top of it and made the arrests. Preventing it is something that's very difficult to do."
The new bill allows law enforcement and judges to impose an extended sentence for those who organize mob attacks via social media, said state Sen. Kwame Raoul, who co-sponsored the bill.
The law takes effect immediately.