Idiots taking selfies and heedless of the danger they were in is costing the City of Los Angels tens of thousands of dollars and sent cops on 681 needless police calls in 2017 alone.
People trying to take selfies and videos in and around the city — and especially in the rugged hills around the area — are causing all sorts of headaches for rescue workers and police.
According to authorities, people are putting themselves in danger just to get that cool photo or viral video and sometimes that danger reaches out and grabs them.
A thirst among hikers, often inexperienced and under-prepared, to gobble up “likes” and shares on Instagram and other social media sites has led to a significant increase in rescue missions by first responders.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Search and Rescue teams conducted 681 missions in 2017, the largest number in five years. It’s a 38% increase from the 491 rescues they did in 2013.
The teams’ leaders say the single largest factor for that increase is people posting videos of extreme activities online. Then, without any thought about the difficulty, others try to re-create their own 15-second version of glory. Rescue teams in Santa Barbara and San Bernardino counties have seen similar increases.
“People will post videos of themselves jumping off of Hermit Falls or the Malibu rock pool, and they post it in the springtime when there’s a decent amount of water. But now, the water is a lot less, so what used to be a 10-foot pool is now a 5-foot pool,” said Michael Leum, who oversees the Sheriff Department’s Search and Rescue teams. “You don’t want to be a lawn dart going into that shallow pool.”
Park preservationists are also worried because some of the more dangerous areas, like the Monkey Canyon swimming hole, were places only known by locals who spent time exploring. But now, such dangerous places are posted to the Internet and thousands more people are seeking them out after seeing it all on their computers and cell phones.
But that worries conservationists because it means more traffic and more damage to the wilderness, especially when people try blazing their own paths through the area.
“Beyond the safety element, there’s an element of resource damage,” said Robert Garcia, the fire chief for Angeles National Forest. “Trails are designed with mitigation and resource protection in mind, so user-created trails don’t have that level of planning.”
Just another example how social media is becoming detrimental to our society.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
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