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Tuesday, 1 December 2009

street gangs in New York have found both a tailored purpose and practice for the Twitter.

The profile piece highlights how gang members, ambivalent to the fact that their tweets may be watched, are not only using Twitter() to purposefully and openly stir the pot with rival gangs, but are also using it to coordinate fights. These Twitterers attempt to avoid detection by using street lingo, but their activities are constantly being monitored by police and investigators.The story follows a recent incident where, according to the piece, “a boy shot in the leg … may have been targeted because of a battle the Original Young Gangsters crew started on Twitter.” As mentioned, Manhattan police are aware of the gang members’ activities and are keeping a vigilant eye on Twitter in the hopes of finding evidence or preventing brawls. There have even been Twitter success stories, but just as gang members have adapted to a new medium, we’d expect them to adapt to the surveillance measures as well.New York City police officers have a hard time controlling violent gang crime, and they are increasingly turning to technological solutions to get a handle on it. The logic works as follows: since a lot of gang crime is performed by teenagers, why not harness social networking and micro-blogging sites like Facebook and Twitter to help hunt down gang members and criminals.According to the Daily News, New York City police are using Twitter search to identify crimes before they happen. They are monitoring Twitter traffic in the hopes of sweeping up gangbangers who might be using Twitter to organize turf wars and other violent crimes… and if they miss preventing the crime, the police are using Twitter to search for clues.It may be an effective strategy. According to a 15 year old member of the New Dons, Twitter is being widely used for coordinating violent attacks on rival gangs… although they use code language that would make it difficult for anyone but gang members and insiders to understand. For example: “I knoe bitches from oyg that would dead mob yah s—t in harlem,” one girl wrote in a series of tweets aimed at drawing out a rival for a fight.That secret Twitter lingo isn’t stopping the NYPD though, who have successfully been stopping attacks before they happen by keeping track of the Twitter updates and Facebook status updates of known gang members. It’s a good long term strategy for the NYPD, since Twitter, above all other things, is for boasting, and gang members are notoriously bad at knowing when to muzzle that boasting up.


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