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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York City Police Department is launching a crackdown on gang violence connected to social media.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly unveiled the details of “Operation Crew Cut” on Tuesday at a gathering of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in San Diego.
WCBS 880′s Paul Murnane reports
Under the plan, the size of the department’s Gang Division will double from 150 to 300 detectives who will focus on loosely affiliated groups of teens as opposed to established gangs such as the Bloods and Crips.
“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 said in prepared remarks. “In other words, you come in to my backyard and you get hurt. You diss my crew and you pay the price.”
Kelly said the smaller “street crews” often use social media to add fuel to the fire by trading dares and insults on Facebook.
WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond with reaction from the Brooklyn DA
The NYPD recently arrested 49 members of two warring Brooklyn gangs — the Very Crispy Gangsters and the Rockstars — after tracking the turf war on Facebook.
“We understand that we are never going to eliminate gang activity, it’s juts not realistic. But we’re not going to let it grow to the size of Cook County or L.A. County,” Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes told reporters including WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond.
Hynes applauded Kelly’s effort to double the size of the gang unit.
“Last year for the first time since 1963, we had less than 200 murders in Brooklyn,” Hynes said.
Part of that drop in homicides is attributed to an increased focus on curbing gang violence, Hynes said.
1010 WINS’ John Montone reports
“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.
The gang unit will also work more closely with other divisions that will assist in social media-driven investigations.
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