New York Police Department monitoring Twitter to stop gang crime

John Brownlee (
Nov. 30, 2009
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.

Posted by on Nov 30 2009. Filed under Policing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “New York Police Department monitoring Twitter to stop gang crime”

  1. san jose


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