NYPD Plans to Double Size of Gang Unit

USA Today, October 2, 2012

The New York Police Department is planning to double the size of its gang unit to 300 detectives to combat teen violence fueled by dares and insults traded on social media.

Rather than target established street gangs involved in the drug trade, the reinforcements will focus mainly on “looser associations of younger men who identify themselves by the block they live on, or on which side of a housing development they reside,” Police Commissioner Raymond said in prepared remarks.

“Their loyalty is to their friends living in a relatively small area and their rivalries are based not on narcotics trafficking or some other entrepreneurial interest, but simply on local turf,” Kelly added. “In other words, ‘You come in to my backyard and you get hurt. You diss my crew and you pay the price.’“

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Under the new plan, the NYPD gang unit will work more closely with other divisions that monitor social media for signs of trouble.

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“By capitalizing on the irresistible urge of these suspects to brag about their murderous exploits on Facebook, detectives used social media to draw a virtual map of their criminal activity over the last three years,” Kelly said.

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