Everybody panic! Gangs using Twitter to gangbang in 140 characters or less

140 characters can now start a turf war or a bloody beef, according the the New York Daily News.

The NYDN claims that gangs are increasingly using the microblogging service to shout out their boys, threaten rival Gs and draw foes into battle. The article is populated with references to local gangs known to hang around certain housing projects as well as quotes from young men claiming to use the service for gang activities. The piece indicates searches for certain gang related results yield threats and brags, but none of the terms suggested seem to be very well-populated in search results.

Still, those who reach out to gang-affliliated teens in the city say Twitter has actually helped them circumvent violent confrontations:

Harlem pastor Vernon Williams, who runs Perfect Peace Ministry Youth Outreach, said his staff uses Twitter, MySpace and instant messaging to keep track of 4,000 at-risk teens.

A week ago, Twitter helped the volunteers stop a street war after they saw the Get Money Boys, based in the St. Nicholas Houses on W. 127 St., exchanging threats with Goodfellas and The New Dons, based just a few blocks north.

“They were threatening to go and hurt two people,” said Williams, 51, who sent staff out to find the tweeters.

Personally, I’m skeptical that anyone other than misguided teenagers would use the service so blatantly for true gang related activity. Given the code of silence that comes along with gang activity (that’s why we don’t speak, made men ain’t supposed to make statements) and the fact that anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows that police can conduct internet searches too, those expecting a long and fruitful gang might not want to tweet about it. (It’s like bringing a Blackberry to an iPhone fight.) Then again, an enterprising young fellow named Lil V seems to disagree with me:

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 seemed aware that the cops or anyone else could follow them – and said the gang takes precautions, using lingo gangsters from an earlier era wouldn’t even understand.

“We got our own page,” Lil V said. “Our page is private.”

Lil V, if you reading this, we still on for 11 tonight at the corner of Marcy and Flushing, right? Holla at me up on Twitter.

[via The Raw Feed]