Studying Gang Tweets Could Reduce Gun Violence, Researchers Say

Could studying gang members’ social media accounts, this kind of as Twitter and Fb, lessen gun violence?

Authors of a review released this thirty day period in NPJ Electronic Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal, identified that aggressive tweets between gang members typically arrive two days days following they tweet about loss.

This two-day grace period can—and should—be used by grief counselors and other psychological overall health providers to lessen the chance of gang violence, the authors from Columbia College argued.

“They are utilizing Twitter to speak about their publicity to violence and they are utilizing the (social media) platforms to cope,” the study’s guide author, Desmond Patton, told The Chicago Tribune.

“The way this is spun in the media is there are all these violent opinions occurring. What I am observing is men and women who at first are grieving and more than time those people opinions became aggressive,” he ongoing. 

Two days following a loss tweet, the review identified a 21 % improve in the anticipated range of aggressive tweets.

Nonetheless, loss tweets did not show up predictive of aggressive tweets a few or additional days out—demonstrating the shorter span of time counselors and psychological overall health particular would have to intervene.

Scientists seemed at more than 2,256 tweets from self-discovered gang members and 230 distinctive Twitter accounts.

Patton, an assistant professor in Columbia’s College of Social Get the job done, utilized the story of Gakirah Barnes as a basis for the review. 

Four decades in the past, Gakirah Barnes, a Chicago gang member, finding out a buddy experienced been slain, posted a praying fingers emoji on her Twitter account lamenting the death.

Barnes’ grief rapidly turned to anger. Within minutes she yet again took to social media, vowing revenge on her rivals — even if they weren’t the ones liable for killing her buddy.

Four days later, Barnes, just 17, was dead.  She was shot as she stood with good friends on a avenue in the Woodlawn community on Chicago’s South Side.

The on the web corridors exactly where gang members taunt and threaten rivals has develop into an expanding place of review, and judges in the criminal justice technique have taken be aware.

Last week, when it arrived time to sentence a teen convicted in a Chicago armed theft, a Cook County juvenile court judge told the young man to wipe his Fb feed and any other social media accounts clear of references to “gangs, guns and drugs” and chorus from posting on those people subject areas though on probation. 

See also: Judge’s Edict: Wipe Gang Photographs From Fb

While the work of Columbia scientists studying social media and gang violence is not nonetheless completed, they conclude they already have identified at the very least just one essential craze in the tweets — the aggressive posts that draw so a great deal consideration are usually preceded by some thing additional like a cry for enable, which must be achieved with an immediate reaction by qualified experts.

The review can be identified right here.

Megan Hadley is a reporter for The Crime Report. Readers’ opinions are welcome.

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