Many People Turned To Social Media During the Lindley Park Standoff

11:57 PM, Jan 31, 2012   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC -- As the standoff in Lindley Park unfolded, neighbors were pretty active on Twitter, which sounds harmless except for pictures of snipers that could give away their locations.

On Tuesday, all you needed was a hashtag (#) to figure out what neighbors, police, and the media were saying about the standoff as it was happening. #lindleyparkstandoff was trending all day on Twitter.

People were sending prayers and hoping for a peaceful ending. Other people shared information about evacuations and school delays.

However, there was another side.  Information and photos were circulating on Twitter about where officers were located. Police said that could pose some serious risks.

Captain Margaret Erga of High Point Police Department said of one photo, "Oh my, well the problem with a photo like that is wherever that man is, whichever house he's in, that's his neighborhood, he probably knows exactly where the sniper's position is right now."

News 2 tracked the Twitter conversation all day.  Earlier in the day on Tuesday, News 2 asked Greensboro Police Chief Ken Miller how social media might affect their operation. At the time, he wasn't aware of the info spreading on twitter and was immediately alarmed.

"That's a concern. We'll have to look at that; we may have to push the evacuation farther," said Chief Miller.

The role social media plays in law enforcement situations can be both good and bad. It's helped get the word out and even solve crimes in some situations, but when a standoff is still an active operation, too much information in the hands and eyes of the suspect can interfere with law enforcement.

SLIDESHOW: Photos from Westdale Place standoff

WFMY News 2, twitter

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