While I would never encourage anyone to break the law, I take it as axiomatic that if you are going to do something criminal, you probably shouldn’t boast about it in a public forum.
Apparently no one told the members of the “Wavegang” and “Hoodstarz,” two gangs in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn that were recently busted by the New York Police Department for a series of shootings that killed three, injured more, and generally kept their neighborhoods in a constant state of terror. Social media played a key role in nabbing 43 gang members from both gangs, according to the NYPD, which released details of social media activities so profoundly stupid you have to wonder if the quality of gang recruits has fallen off in recent years.
This much is clear: these gangs were not the disciplined, well-oiled machines portrayed in The Wire, as evident in their decision to boast about serious crimes on a public forum. According to NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, quoted by NY1 speaking at a press conference, 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.” Cue Dragnet theme: dumb dumb-dumb-dumb…
The whole thing is even better (in the sense of more hilariously stupid) because the NYPD actually announced its intention to monitor social media for evidence of criminal activities last year. Back in August it was revealed that assistant commissioner Kevin O'Connor would head up a newly-created social media division, which is part of the juvenile justice unit, and which monitosr social media on the lookout for information about misbehavior ranging from out-of-control house parties to gang battles. O'Connor previously made a name for himself with online policing efforts including stings targeting sexual predators on social media and helping apprehend murderers based on their online boasting.