Police turn to social media as crime fighting tool

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By Charlie De Mar

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 8, 2014) -- Two teenagers were shot at an Indianapolis house party on Saturday. The event was advertised on social media and got 'out of control.'

A 13-year-old was shot in the buttocks, and a 19-year-old was wounded in the forearm.  It's catastrophes like the one Saturday night that Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Detective Sergeant William Carter tries to avoid.  He enforces unlawful gatherings in Indianapolis.

Carter says he uses social media to stay on top of unruly parties before they start.

“A lot of times it begins with  good intentions, but people don't call us until it gets out of control."

Carter says social media fans the flame.

"These posts go to thousands of people in a matter of minutes," said Carter.

After the body of 15-year-old Dominique Allen was found burned in a west side backyard , social media flooded with people taking credit for her death. An  IMPD spokesman says they are aware of these posts but they haven’t led to an arrest.

"With social media it's just clues and just because somebody says something doesn't mean it is.  What police have to do is put it together.  That's just good old-fashioned police work," said Dr. Richard Weinblatt, dean of Ivy Tech Community College and a former police chief.

"We have had people confess falsely for whatever reason, if they wanted infamy or if they had mental health issues, but with social media it is much more instant," said Weinblatt.

The two teens shot at the party are expected to be recover from their wounds.