New York City’s gang members don’t seem to be catching on to the fact that much of their social media activity is visible to New York City’s finest -- that, or they just don’t care.
In the latest example of criminal stupidity or indifference, New York City police said they have arrested 63 alleged members of three gangs for various crimes including three murders, around three dozen shootings, and gun trafficking, after gang members boasted of their exploits on social media.
According to the NYPD, the members of the Air It Out, True Money, and Whoadey gangs “talked openly on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.” Among the examples cited was a Facebook post which read, “I'm two Glocks strapped rolling down 112 Madison 116th this is the New Iraq,” while another gang member recounted a firefight on Twitter: “It start goin off like its 4th of July.”
As noted, it’s not like gang members haven’t had ample warning. Back in October 2012 the NYPD announced it was expanding its gang unit to 300 detectives in response to an uptick in criminal activity which the NYPD blamed, at least in part, on social media. Before that, in September 2012 the NYPD was able to bring charges against dozens of members of two gangs, the Very Crispy Gangsters and the Rockstarz, in part because of their online braggadocio. At the time NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly noted: “Because of these individuals’ insatiable desire to brag about what they did, these investigators were able to draw a virtual map of their activities and bring them to justice.”
And in January 2012 the NYPD busted two other gangs from the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, the “Wavegang” and “Hoodstarz,” for a series of shootings that killed three and injured more. Social media played a key role in nabbing 43 gang members from both gangs, according to Kelly, who said police investigators “followed gang members on Twitter, on Facebook and on YouTube. By linking their boastings and postings on social media to active cases and other crime, these officers were able to build this case.”