London Riots 2011: Get online to catch a looter

Posted by admin on Aug 10, 2011 in news, opinion, technology

The last few days have been very stressful for UK citizens, primarily Londoners. We’re living in the aftermath of the London Riots, and no one is quite sure how to behave. An eerie calm pervades Oxford Street as armed policeman walk four abreast down the street and muscle bound guards loiter around the front of Selfridges. Shops have started shutting from 2pm onwards and two meetings I was meant to attend were cancelled ‘just in case’. Despite Tuesday night being fairly calm, Monday saw fires and shouts in the town I live in, with hooded figures clearly visible on Camden canal, shouting and  throwing things about with more than usual abandon. London has been gripped with a fear that these ‘youths, chancers, looters’– call them what you will, have suddenly seized control and all rules don’t seem to apply anymore.

Whilst I have no doubt this hysteria will soon be under control, what I have been amazed by is how quick the interweb has been at chastising and identifying the culprits. In the past few days numerous websites have been created all with the sole purpose of identifying these people, and-so far- not one of them is in anyways a commercial enterprise;  just a pure and good samaritan endeavour to try and help people and shopowners get some justice for the abuse of their property.

Twitter has also been a goldmine of support with the Twitter hashtag #londonriots providing up to the minute information of what was taking place (though some was erroneous data- no animals escaped from London Zoo) and a new Twitter hahstag #riotscleanup and #riotcleanup. It’s great to see how the web community has banded together to support eachother- both online and IRL with meetups arranged to help clear the damage. Here’s my roundup of some of the London Riots websites that have been created. Spare a moment and take a look- you could really make a difference.


This website was created a few days ago, but already looks pretty slick. People email in images or upload them to their Facebook page and then you can scroll through them and see if you can identify anyone. If you do there’s a form to fill in where you submit details of the rioter you recognize and then the creators of the site will use this- anonymously- to contact the police. I don’t really know what Zavilia stands for as it’s a less obvious riot site title,and Dictionary.com tells me it’s not recognized. Hmm- maybe the creators  just liked the way it sounded? If it’s slang for something else, I’m just to old school to recognize it. Read more…

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