Public Criminology and the 2011 Vancouver Riot: Public Perceptions of Crime and Justice in the 21st Century

Christopher J Schneider


Facilitating public debates about crime and its various facets is at the core of public criminology. Public criminology focuses on the role that criminologists play in the manner that they contribute to public debates related to crime. I suggest herein that empirically investigating public opinions offered in response to criminal events like riots on social media sites can contribute to a more informed sense of various public understandings about crime, a process that serves as a point of entrée for the public criminologist. I provide a brief summary of the 2011 Vancouver riot in British Columbia and outline how social media brought increased attention to the riot that in turn helped people to make sense of the riot. I briefly explain how to deal methodologically with select materials gathered from social media and then develop some basic user-generated themes relating to the riot, including, user production of evidence and punishment. I conclude with a short discussion for how this might contribute to a public criminology.


Public Criminology; Social Media; Facebook; Vancouver Riot

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