The Westside’s too “social” party scene
April 11, 2012
Talk about paradise lost.
While vacationing in Hawaii two weeks ago, a Pacific Palisades teenager learned from postings on his Facebook page that he was missing a party—at, gulp, his own house. The boy had unwittingly opened the door by letting his Facebook “friends” know that he and his family would be out of town.
“The father called us from Hawaii saying that something might be going on at his home,” recalled Los Angeles Police Officer Raymond Barron. That was an understatement. The house had been broken into and trashed by a crowd of drinking, partying young people, some of whom allegedly stole laptops and sound equipment. Eleven juveniles and 2 young adults were arrested.
Meanwhile, also on the Westside that same weekend, more than 500 partyers overtook an apparently vacant home in Holmby Hills after they’d been chased out of a house by police in Beverly Hills. Once again, word of the roving party had spread instantaneously through Twitter and other social media. It took nearly an hour for officers, who made numerous arrests, to clear the revelers who’d streamed into the quiet neighborhood “like a swarm of bees,” according to one resident.
Members of the LAPD’s West Los Angeles Area are, of course, no strangers to the occasional big, unruly party that might get going near UCLA or in large homes rented out for the night, said Officer Barron. But the two “flash mob parties” that occurred on the weekend of March 31 represented a troubling twist on the party scene, one that Police Chief Charlie Beck said requires some basic digital-age precautions. Perhaps most important: “If you’re going to be absent from your residence,” the chief said, “don’t put it on social media.”
In a “community alert” this week, the West L.A. station’s crime analysis detail said there appeared to be a link between social media-fueled parties and the release of “a particular movie.” In the most recent cases, the department has speculated that “Project X” may have served as inspiration. The movie, released in March, is about three friends who plan on becoming popular by throwing a raucous party that quickly escalates out of control.
Or as one blurb said of the movie’s plot: “A parent’s worst nightmare.”