Tags: Law Enforcement | social media | crime | violence

Report: Social Media Seen Fueling Rise in Violent Crime

Image: Report: Social Media Seen Fueling Rise in Violent Crime
(Dominic Lipinski/AP)

By    |   Friday, 24 November 2017 07:54 PM

Social media presents a double-edged sword when it comes to violent crimes, providing a platform that can contribute to an escalation in criminal activity, yet at the same time offering evidence to authorities that can lead to arrests, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Officials in Chicago, on track to have more than 600 murders for the second year in a row, report social media often acts as a catalyst for violent behaviors.

"It pours an accelerant on what was already there," said Eric Sussman, the first assistant state's attorney for Chicago's Cook County.

A Chicago police spokesman said often the result was that "in too many instances, these conflicts are resolved with a gun."

One Chicago teen, Rukiya Winston, a 16-year-old tenth-grader, said she had sworn off social media after witnessing the violence in her South Side neighborhood.

"It takes things to a whole new level. You see people get into it with someone (on Facebook) and the next day they are beaten up or shot," Winston said. "It is just too much."

Prosecutors in other cities in the country, such as Dallas and Wilmington, Delaware, say that social media contributes to gang-related violence in their communities as well. However, the information on social media can also provide evidence in apprehending criminals.

"If you have a defendant and you are trying to get some large sense of whom they are affiliated with, what other activities they might be involved in and what may have led to their crime, there's information available publicly," said Delaware Attorney General Matthew Denn.

Officials in Chicago have called on social media platforms such as Facebook to do more to monitor what is published on their websites.

"[Facebook] is getting better with it, they're obviously very concerned," said Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin. "There's a lot of work we have to do to stop the drugs and guns flowing into our city, and social media is an area we focus some of that attention."

Facebook is looking to double the number of employees who monitor their site for safety and security, from 10,000 to 20,000 in 2018, the article said. In addition, they have invested in Artificial Intelligence to supervise content on Facebook Live.

"People don't want false news or hate speech or bullying or any of the bad content that we're talking about," Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this month. "So, to the extent that we can eradicate that from the platform, that will create a better product."

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Social media presents a double-edged sword when it comes to violent crimes, providing a platform that can contribute to an escalation in criminal activity, yet at the same time offering evidence to authorities that can lead to arrests, The Wall Street Journal reported...
social media, crime, violence
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2017-54-24
Friday, 24 November 2017 07:54 PM
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