The West Los Angeles Area Los Angeles Police Department sent out a community alert this week warning residents of a new trend called "social media" or "flash mob" parties. These parties are usually thrown by teenagers who target homes where adults are away on vacation.
Police say teens alert thousands of friends via social media of the address of an "unattended residence." The parties often involve alcohol and narcotics. In addition, party-goers may commit theft, burglary or even sexual assault, according to police.
Officials say homes that are victims of flash mob parties often sustain "thousands to hundreds of thousand of dollars in property damage and property loss."
A similar party that fits the flash mob description was . The family had left the home for a spring break vacation when about a dozen teens broke in to throw a party. According to police, the teens made off with sound equipment and computers. Following an investigation, 11 juveniles and two young adults were arrested.
, news of which was spread through social media, police said.
Police mentioned in the community alert that the flash mob party trend began following the release of a particular movie. The name of the movie was not mentioned in the alert.
Residents are encouraged by police to maintain home security and to participate in a Neighborhood Watch program. Police also offer the following tips:
- Trust a responsible adult to house sit.
- Make sure your alarm is armed.
- Make sure you have a responsible person available to respond, if needed.
- Consider web-based surveillance cameras, which allow you to check in via smartphone or laptop.
If you suspect an illegal party is in progress, or believe one has occured in your neighborhood, you are asked to dial 9-1-1, or 1-877-ASK-LAPD (1-877-275-5273).