New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is to double the number of police officers in his NYPD Gang Division to 300 in an effort to stamp out the growing problem of ‘youth crews’ in the city.
According to NY1.com, the initiative, dubbed ‘Operation Crew Cut’, will move 150 cops to the division with the task of monitoring social media websites Youtube and Facebook. These officers will be given help by colleagues from the Juvenile Justice Division.
Speaking at an address in California, Kelly stated that the program will only target ‘street crews’ and not established gangs as these ‘looser’ teams are responsible for 30% of the city’s shootings. Richard Aborn of the Citizen’s Crime Commission of New York City applauds the movement stating that while these unstructured gangs are nothing like the classic gangs in Chicago and LA, cops need to move now to ‘confront that problem.’
Speaking to TIME Magazine, Commissioner Kelly claims that this clamp down on social media should be successful as cops will be ‘capitalizing on the irresistible urge of these suspects to brag about their murderous exploits on Facebook.’
Kelly asserts that the officers in question will be given ample leeway in cracking down on gang members. He said, ‘Officers can adopt aliases for their online work, as long as they are registered with the department. They can also protect their anonymity by using department laptops with untraceable internet cards.’