Twitter has become an active part of gang warfare and nowhere more so, than in New York it seems.
According to NY Daily News, after a shooting in last month, believed to be between rival gangs, Lieutenant Kevin O’Connor of New York Police Department’s gang intelligence unit says they are actively monitoring the public Twitter accounts of suspected gang members for information.
“It’s another tool, just like old phone records,” said one police officer. “We can go through them to track these guys.”
A basic search of the social-networking site for OYG, the gang based in the Jefferson Houses in East Harlem, yields shout-outs and throwdowns.
“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.
A 15-year-old nicknamed Lil V, who belongs to The New Dons, says Twitter is useful for “settin’ up the fights” and making plans.
He said that gang members took steps to protect their Twitter profiles from the police, using complicated slang to throw investigators off the sent, and setting profiles to private so they couldn’t be followed by just anyone.
“We got our own page,” Lil V said. “Our page is private.”
With agreements in place with Microsoft and Google, it’s interesting to consider whether Twitter will also give law enforcement similar access to data to aid in solving and preventing crime. Twitter in fact may not have a choice.