Social Media Used By Police To Locate St Patrick's Day Rioters

What was meant to be a patriotic day, celebrated around the world, soon turned into a heady uprising, with over 1,000 suspects wanted over the St Patrick's Day riot in London, Ontario.

Saturday was supposed to be a joyful day of doing what the Irish do best - drinking and being merry, however, the day's drunken antics soon led to an evening of complete chaos. Labelled by police as "the worst case of civil disobedience in London's history"; a St Patrick's Day party, held in the Ontario town, soon got out of control - after a riot lasting five hours, near Fanshawe College, saw revellers set objects on fire, attack police as well as torch a TV news van.

However, police are hoping to catch the rioters through the medium of social media - and have already begun trawling through the numerous photos, videos and updates posted on various social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

"Im prob on the news for flipping that car," wrote one Twitter user an hour after suggesting he was caught "in the middle of a riot."

Despite many profiles indicating the user's participation in the riot, it can become a double-edged sword.

"What social media does is it sort of complicates police work because it provides so much more data," explained Christopher Schneider, a University of British Columbia sociology professor researching the Vancouver riots.

"This image [may look] guilty as hell but I don't know what was happening there," said Prof. Schneider. "So everyone needs to take a breather and let the justice system do its job."

Source: The Globe and Mail