"The mobs could break into any store they choose," notes Petzal, "serene in the knowledge that the police couldn’t stop them and that the odds they would be shot by an irate store owner were virtually nil. And the laws in Great Britain being what they are, any merchant who did treat a looter to a dose of shot would almost surely go to prison."
Compare this sad outcome to the situation in neighborhoods where the local people rose and defended their property as best they could (albeit without firearms). They were passed over by the mobs. Like the cowards they are the mob fears a real fight and so they moved on to easier prey.