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News - 26 November 2012

How an online neighbourhood watch could help tackle crime

The social media reaction to a video of an attack on an east London teenager shows how it can be a useful tool for police

The social media sphere erupted in disgust last week after a video showing a sickening, unprovoked attack on a 16-year-old girl in Plaistow, east London, started doing the rounds.

CCTV footage shows a man approach the girl from behind and hit her so hard on the head that she flies through the air, before landing motionless on the ground. The footage went viral along with a video still of the attacker, and an arrest has since been made. Happily, the girl escaped with minimal injuries and is said to be coping well.

The details behind the arrest are unclear, but the fact that social media played a critical role in this case is indisputable. Thousands of people shared the video and news reports weaved a collective mesh of knowledge and awareness. And equally importantly, the outpouring of kindness and concern from strangers around the country – and indeed the world – will have provided invaluable support for the teenager whose faith in humanity has no doubt been badly shaken.

Read the full story from The Guardian, here

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