Is the “knockout game” real? Jerry Elsner of the Illinois State Crime Commission says it is – teenagers trying to knock out an unsuspecting victim with one punch. “I was talking to a friend of mine in law enforcement from the Champaign-Urbana area, and he’s telling me that there’s so much of it happening now, so many attacks happening now that it’s difficult to keep up with the reports,” he said.
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Elsner wants organized attacks against helpless individuals to be upgraded to a Class A felony for all involved, not just the offender who struck the blow. Typically a simple battery in Illinois would now be charged as a misdemeanor. Cops are on the lookout for this, but confirmed cases are elusive. It might be hysteria over a handful of attacks nationwide over a period of years – including cases this year in Hoboken, N.J. and Syracuse, N.Y., a 2011 incident in St. Louis, and a 1992 incident in Cambridge, Mass. There’s no evidence to support the contention that this “game” is new, a trend, or a growing menace, just that isolated random assaults have occurred over time.
In Champaign, there were five incidents investigated by police in 2012, but it appears that robbery was the motive in those cases.