Riot Fear: Could U.K.-Style Destruction Happen Here?

Many are wondering if widespread chaos terrorizing Britain could happen in U.S.

ByABC News
August 11, 2011, 3:55 AM

Aug. 11, 2011— -- With riots breaking out across the U.K., some are wondering if the unrest could spread to America. Already in the past few months, youth mobs have wreaked havoc in Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Cleveland.

The rioting in Britain, now entering a sixth day, has prompted authorities to add 16,000 police in the streets of London. Mob rule has taken place across the capital and quickly spread to smaller British cities, including Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool. On Wednesday three men were killed when they were hit by a car while reportedly defending their neighborhood from looters.

Now that youth mobs in Philadelphia have led to new government action, questions remain: why is this happening, and what is the likelihood of such activity amongst American youth?

The city of Philadelphia has now begun a coordinated response to flash mobs and teen violence that has recently plagued the city and terrorized residential areas.

A Philadelphia man was assaulted by a group of about 30 who were believed to have gotten together through Twitter, according to the Associated Press. On June 23 a few dozen young people looted several hundred dollars worth of merchandise in the Philadelphia suburb of Upper Darby, Pa.

On Monday, Philly Mayor Michael A. Nutter reduced the citywide curfew to 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for all minors under the age of 18 in targeted enforcement districts.

"This nonsense must stop," Nutter said on Sunday at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia. "If you wanna act like a butthead, your butt's gonna get locked up. If you wanna act like an idiot, move; we don't want you here anymore."