HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — House Republicans have introduced anti-looting legislation that they say should crackdown on looters.
This bill comes in response to the heavy looting in Philadelphia in late September that caused significant property damage and loss. If passed, the bill would increase penalties for looters, make changes to juvenile curfews and enhance penalties for those looting state property, including liquor stores.
It’s in hopes that the passing of this bill will also crackdown on social media coordination of looting.
During the most recent looting in Philadelphia, it is believed that nearly 20 liquor stores were targeted and raided. This type of violence, Rep. Joe Hogan (R-Bucks) emphasized, jeopardizes not only state property but also state employees and their livelihood.
Representative K.C. Tomlinson (R-Bucks) also noted in the release that using social media to promote and further looting and violence seemed to be a large part of the problem in Philadelphia. According to the release, media-based livestreams “as well as posts to social media” were believed to be what incited people to commit crimes and launch into riots.
“Coordinating this kind of behavior only exacerbates the risk to public safety and the unchecked lawlessness we saw on the streets of Philadelphia last week,” said Tomlinson. “Those who use their social media influence and presence to incite this kind of behavior need to be held accountable for that action. It is not acceptable for influencers to utilize their social media platforms to cause crimes.”
It was highlighted that these types of crimes not only effect the residents who feel the need to defend themselves from crowds of rioters and looters, but also businesses and neighboring communities.
For more information on the bill, visit the Pennsylvania House of Representative website.