Using Twitter to Predict the Eviction of Occupy Philly

Late Tuesday night I was hanging out in my kitchen and I mentioned to one of my roommates that there was a significant peak in Twitter rumors that the police were going to evict Occupy Philly.

I took it with a big grain of salt. After all it was Twitter, the rumors fly like crazy, and people love to say that you cannot predict when the police will come!

I finished cooking, went back to my computer and as I ate my food I realized that there was an eviction in process. I then biked down to the Occupation and marched around for the next three hours.

This chart of Twitter tweets shows that at 12am, before the police had given the official order to disperse the number (or percentage?) of tweets for "OccupyPhilly" was greater than at any point since the occupation had started:

An algorithm might be able to predict an eviction or mass arrests based on number of tweets alone!

This method could be improved upon by doing some keyword analysis (ex. looking for words like: raid, eviction, arrests, etc).

Police Arrests

In other news, 52 people were arrested at the protests. They were surrounded by the police and arrested after the protest had been dwindling in size for about two hours (we had 100 people or possibly more protesting around 2am). Probably the police got fed up and wanted to stop the protests (and more noticeably the police presence that was a massive overkill) by morning to allow for traffic and to avoid looking bad on the morning news.

I think the arrestees stand a good chance of getting settlements from the city, possibly thousands of dollars each for an unwarranted arrest. They were told to move to the sidewalk - they did it - and then police arrested them. Pretty much your typical mass unlawful arrest story.