The New York City Police Department arrested more than 50 suspected gang members Wednesday after they used Twitter and other social networks to arrange a “Crips Holiday.”
The New York Daily News reports that police learned the alleged Crips members were using Twitter to call for a gathering at Amersfort Park in East Flatbush, Brooklyn Wednesday. Members of the NYPD’s Gang Unit teamed up with officers from the 63rd Precinct, the borough task force and the Emergency Service Unit, arriving at the park at about 7:30 p.m, police told theDaily News.
Police officers told the crowd — largely dressed in blue shades affiliated with the gang — to leave the park, but the group refused. That’s when the police arrested 56 of them. While police said they didn’t know what the alleged gang members’ intentions were, a 9-mm. Taurus pistol was discovered in the park.
“The potential for danger was there,” a law enforcement source told the Daily News.
The NYPD has been getting more involved in monitoring social media for criminal activity. Earlier this month, the department announced the creation of a new juvenile justice unit, which mines social media to find information about “troublesome house parties, gang showdowns and other potential mayhem.”
And other law enforcement officials around the U.S. are also starting to use social media to track criminal activity. Police used a combination of Facebook profiles and school yearbooks to identify perpetrators in a flash mob incident that took place in Germantown, Maryland, on Aug. 13. The Boston Police Department has integrated Twitter into its daily routine, and a conference titled “Social Media, The Internet and Law Enforcement” (SMILE) is supposed to be held in Dallas this September.Image courtesy of Flickr, Vincent Desjardin Original article by; Radhika Marya Posted by; Jeff Pulvino
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