Social media: behind the brawl or keeps chaos in check?

Social media: behind the brawl or keeps chaos in check?

PINE BELT (WDAM) - Over the past 24 hours nine malls in nine different states have had fights break out among teenagers. While there's no explanation for the outburst, there has been a common thread: social media.

In Aurora, Colorado, social media posts alluded to a fight at the Town Center Mall. When police arrived on scene about, 100 people had already gathered in the food court to watch. Police in Beachwood, Ohio, also believe that their fights were prompted by social media.

WDAM reached out to Turtle Creek Mall in Lamar County to ask about their security efforts after the fights. Corporate spokesperson Stacey Keating emailed us this statement:

"Our top priority is to provide a comfortable, convenient and enjoyable experience for our customers, employees and retail partners. Turtle Creek Mall has security protocols in place and we make adjustments based on traffic, seasonality and any local or regional event that has the potential to disrupt operations at the center. Discussing our procedures in more detail would compromise our efforts."

While social media is causing chaos around the country, Jasper County Sheriff Randy Johnson is using social media to keep chaos in check. He constantly updates his Facebook page to keep in touch with his community.

"Social media is the way to get to the people right then," said Johnson. "You don't have to wait. People, as you know, look at Facebook constantly."

Johnson said that he has used social media to solve crimes.

"We'll get messages about strange vehicles or people in certain areas and we'll respond to them," he said.

If you see any suspicious posts online contact local law enforcement.