New York gangs take to the digital streets via Twitter

by Mike
Posted November 30th, 2009 at 6:50 am

Twitter has reshaped communication in recent years in that it brought the extremely fast communication method of texting and opened it up to the world. Now faster than ever, ideas and thoughts can be shared with not just a few, but the whole world. What once was a small community of geeks and nerds trading 140 character or less messages back and forth has blossomed into a worldwide phenomenon with people of all ages and lifestyles picking up Twitter as an effective means to communicate. All we ever hear about is weird or funny individuals or groups making use of the micro blogging mecca, but a far scarier and sinister following is getting with the times and giving their hand at this whole digital revolution — gangs.

Go to any New York police officer and ask them about gang activity on Twitter and you may be shocked to see or hear the accounts of the quickly increasing and rampant use of Twitter as a means for gangs to talk amongst one another for setting up hits as well as antagonizing rival gangs. It’s kind of eerie to think that right next to your harmless tweet about your eating habits over thanksgiving are followed by the plans to execute rival gang members. Clearly, such things aren’t the intended use of Twitter. Though with technology and freedom comes responsibility.

Of course, being your typical criminals means they aren’t that intelligent as using a publicly available service means millions of prying eyes. Sure they have a private account, but come on, nothing is private these days, especially online. Someone always has access to personal information. What will set up is a new age cat and mouse game with police constantly gaining access to these private gang related twitter groups and the groups subsequently moving on to form another group with the whole cycle endlessly carrying on. The new digital gang era is unfolding.

So far, the most tech minded gangs appear to be the Get Money Boys, Goodfellas, and The New Dons. Thankfully, even though we may joke from time to time that city based jobs aren’t exactly “ahead of the curve” when it comes to technology can be put to rest — at least in NYC. The police in NYC are actively watching Twitter for any and all leads to upcoming gang activity so that both the physical and digital streets are a little safer. For now, it’s just taking life at one tweet at a time.

NY Daily News

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