OSSINING, N.Y. — Ossining Police used social media to stop a major party based on the teen movie "Project X" in March.
Village of Ossining Police said they received word through Facebook and Twitter in March that “as many as 4,000 underage youths” were invited to a party at the old Brandreth Pill Factory on North Water Street in Ossining. To stop the party before it could take off, police said they used the same social media sites to issue a warning to parents and community members about the plans.
“We placed a presence in the area (of North Water Street) and we also put it out on Facebook and Twitter and various social media that we were aware of the plans,” said Ossining's Lt. Michael McElroy. “It was just more in the nature of a preventative action. Thank God we didn’t have a lot of underage kids there.”
McElroy described the plans as a “Project X-type underage drinking party.” The name refers to the recently released film “Project X” about teenagers throwing a massive party that gets out of control.
An ABC "Nightline" story previously reported that attempts at copycat parties occurred in Miami, Houston and Michigan. The story described “Project X” as a movie “about a group of teenage nerds throwing a party to gain popularity while their parents are out of town, but the party gets out of hand. Suddenly there are explosions, cars driving into swimming pools and a SWAT team.”
McElroy said police in Ossining and Sleepy Hollow were able to locate Twitter and Facebook communication about the party, known as “Project New York.”
Local Twitter users commented about the party using “#ProjectNewYork.” Several Ossining High School students later said they were aware of the party after invitations were sent through Facebook and references to "Project New York" were made on Twitter.
McElroy said that, while the Police Department doesn’t regularly monitor social media, it helped in stopping the party before it started.
“Social media played a role in terms of getting the party out there to kids and in us getting out the word that we knew there was a party,” he said. “It played a role in us being able to alert parents of people whose names came up in our investigation.”
While no arrests were made the in incident, police said in December that they continue to monitor the old pill factory to ensure no parties ever take place in the abandoned building.
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