Violence Featuring Juvenile Gangs Spreads Across Country

( – In recent weeks US cities have been swept by violence involving mobs of teenagers. In one incident a mall had to be evacuated after a large group of juveniles started a fight; in the others shots were fired and someone was stabbed. Why are these violent incidents happening?

Late afternoon on August 27, hundreds of youths converged on the Del Amo Fashion Center mall in Torrance, California. A large fight soon broke out as swarms of teens rampaged through the mall, with the Torrance Police Department having to draft in reinforcements from neighboring counties. A witness told police a shot was fired during the riot.

Not long after the Torrance riot, 300-400 teens started multiple fights near the AMC Theater in Emeryville, California, which was selling discounted tickets at the time. Police say a shot was fired, but nobody was hit. However, one youth suffered a non-fatal stab wound.

The violence wasn’t confined to California, either. Another fight began in a mall food court in Tukwila, Washington, then spread throughout the mall, which had to be evacuated. At least one of the rioters was carrying a gun.

This type of incident, where large crowds of juveniles suddenly congregate in an area and cause trouble, seems to be getting more frequent. It’s not just a US problem, either; in August, a large mob of juveniles ran riot on London’s Oxford Street. One answer is social media. The London riot was triggered by a TikTok craze, while Emeryville police say the teens were called to a nearby mall by social media.

This kind of violence isn’t really linked to gangs, although juvenile gangsters are a bigger problem than most people assume — researchers think more than a million under-17s belong to gangs, around 2% of US juveniles, and they’re not all hardened criminals from minority ethnic groups. Many teens drift in and out of gangs.

However, it’s unlikely the young people involved in these recent events, and others like them, were gang members, though. Instead, they’ve been brought up in a society where minor crime increasingly gets ignored and social media regulates teenagers’ lives.

Copyright 2023,