The "Knockout Game" - Is It Really a Trend, and Should New Haveners Be Concerned?

It’s a matter of grave concern that the current media reports inform of a wave of dreadful teen criminal offense sweeping America today and no bicyclist, scooter or pedestrian driver is safe from attack. If this sounds familiar, it's due to the fact that the media has a soft spot for tales of social breakdown and lurid brand-new patterns, especially involving teens - every season bringing its own story of sex or violence.

This year's issue is the "knockout video game" - an upgrade on "wilding," i.e. random attacks on passersby by groups of teenage males.  As opposed to break-ins and muggings, the attacks are performed "for kicks," and the hapless victims are typically left with their belongings like phones and wallets, albeit hurt or unconscious. The essence of the most recent "knockout video game," as declared in media reports, is to knock the victim unconscious with one blow.

New Sanctuary has had its share of problems with incomparable street attacks throughout the years, and locals are watching reports carefully for indications of a renewal. The non-trivial job is identifying genuine issues from buzz, and comprehending whether the 2013 "knockout video game" pattern is brand-new, extensive or whether it even exists.

One current case in New Sanctuary demonstrates how challenging this can be.

The story in concern, which amassed some nationwide attention, was the scooter crash suffered by a 49-year-old New Sanctuary car service professional. The guy was riding a scooter along Goffe street on July 19, 2013, when he suffered a blow from behind which caused him to crash and sustain injuries. The guy didn't see exactly what triggered the blow, and was too disoriented by the crash to remember the exact sequence of events. By the time passersby stopped to assist, the scooter had actually instantly vanished, together with any attackers.

The event was initially reported as an attack committed by a group of teens, and fed into public anger over this concern. Nevertheless, as authorities examined, information ended up being progressively uncertain: there were no witnesses to the incident itself, and authorities might just acquire unclear reports of individuals who might or might not have actually been getting away from the scene or acting suspiciously. The guy's injuries revealed no proof of weapon usage, however were too extreme for a bare-handed attack as well. The authorities examined the possibility that the crash was triggered by a car and truck, even discovering a piece of plastic on the roadway which most likely is of vehicle origin; however once again, no definitive proof that the piece came off as an outcome of the scooter mishap.

The scooter was ultimately recovered. Whether the occurrence was an attack followed by a scooter-jacking, or a mishap that caused the scooter's theft as a criminal activity of chance still remains a mystery.

Something is for sure: this year, there has been a variety of "wilding" attacks by groups of teens in New Sanctuary. For instance, an attack on Church Street in late November left a Taekwondo-trained medical scientist with a damaged nose.

This wasn't the only current example: a wave of 6 attacks took place during just 2 days, a few of them spaced just half an hour apart, providing credence to the theory that the occurrences are the outcome of some kind of competition  amongst a single group of criminal teenagers.

Nevertheless, the pattern didn't simply appear in this town, and there is doubt regarding whether it's more extreme this year than others. New Sanctuary experienced much greater criminal activity rates in the 80s and 90s, which equated into greater rates of streets attacks also. In the 2000s, the city relaxed substantially, however the years still saw periodic reports of "wilding" attacks of different types.

2005, for instance, saw a variety of attacks by groups of teenagers on BMX bikes. The attackers would ride around town looking for victims, then ride behind them in chains while landing haphazard punches. The groups grew to as many as 60 in number and resident problems ultimately activated a big cops crackdown on groups of teens on bikes.

In June 2007, a popular member of New Sanctuary's Jewish neighborhood was chased and assaulted near his house by a group of teenagers. This event triggered an outcry in the neighborhood, which ultimately welcomed the anti-crime group Guardian Angels to New Sanctuary to carry out street patrols.

More just recently, 2012 saw the return of bike attacks, with 2 Yale trainees being assaulted by a group of boys on technique bikes.

Does the most recent wave of attacks mark a brand-new pattern, or has simply the background sound of New Sanctuary criminal activity that has been happening in dribs and drabs for several years changed?

While a thorough study of reported "knockout video game" occurrences in New Sanctuary is yet to come, the New York City Times has a post that tries to determine whether street attacks in the location belong to this pattern or are separate events. There have actually been a number of such attacks in New York City suburbs; more unpleasant, victims have actually had the tendency to be Jewish, which raises the specter of anti-semitism. Nevertheless, New York City Commissioner Ray Kelly has actually specified that the cops are still not sure whether this belongs to any nationwide "knockout video game" pattern, or if it's a collection of separate occurrences, or possibly the work of one group that has actually particularly set out to carry out hate criminal activities against Jewish New Yorkers.

Syracuse police officers are likewise worried; in a minimum of one attack, the suspects particularly confessed to playing the "video game" as intention. Authorities in Jersey City, on the other hand, report no attacks that might fall under this classification.

To include additional problem, police officers are worried that a few of the reported attacks have actually been activated by the prevention drive itself, as the media-driven awareness end up offering trouble-prone teenagers concepts to carry out these kind of attacks. 

When all is stated and done - whether the "knockout video game" is genuine or a media production, whether it's a regional or across the country phenomenon - random street attacks have actually happened frequently enough in New Sanctuary this year to cross the general public outrage limit. The 6 events over 2 days reveal that there is at least one group of teens that carry out these attacks for sport. The cops are getting ready for another crackdown; in the meantime, citizens are encouraged to be familiar with their environments.

Fortunately, the area is heading into winter season, when it's too cold for much street criminal offense, so New Sanctuary has at least a couple of months' break from any escalation of this issue.

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