Gordana Rabrenovic, an associate professor of Sociology and Education at Northeastern University, and the associate director of the Brudnick Center on Violence and Conflict, discussed about the riots that erupted in London and throughout England earlier exposing a broad discontent among Britain’s disadvantaged youth. She raised her strong opinions on what caused the riots and why the young people in Britain turned to violence.
The reports revealed that these riots were the result of the London police’s mishandling of the aftermath of the shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan in a poor north London neighbourhood. The cops’ inability to communicate with Duggan’s family about their son’s demise in a timely manner resulted in witnessing 200 people outside the local police station seeking answers. This mass gathering took just a few moments to turn into a riot that escalated into looting, and quickly spread its tentacles to other London neighbourhoods and later to other major cities. Major participants in the rioting were initially young males, but a lot of people from different age groups soon joined in as well. It appeared the riots were orchestrated by social media users through Twitter, Facebook, and BlackBerry Messenger.
Initially, police were too slow and dismissive in reacting to these riots, apparently surprised by how quickly they spread and by the number of participants it attracted. This experience clearly suggests that one of the best and close to perfect ways to protect neighbourhoods from violence in the future is to strengthen police-community relationships and communication. The police need to forge strong community relations if they are to respond with the speed required to meet the challenges presented by evolving social media technology.
A definitive test for any country that faces riots and protests is to build up open aggregate adequacy that keeps comparable occurrences from happening. It likewise needs to think about the best way to address the social, financial, and political underestimation of the youth in its urban areas.