Officials report the 63 people were indicted in New York City’s anti-gang initiative. The initiative is part of an effort to disband gangs responsible for increased violent crime, dating back to 2009.
The gangs, Air it Out, True Money Gang, and True Money Bosses, have reportedly been battling over territory in East Harlem. The rivalry has reportedly been responsible for over 30 shootings and three murders in the area. Authorities have stated that the gangs are also suspected of numerous assaults and gun trafficking.
As reported by The Wall street Journal, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., announced the 63 indictments as part of a crackdown on violent gang activity.
The initiative was part of an effort to use social media to confirm gang membership and intended acts of violence. Authorities monitored the alleged gang members’ activities using Facebook, Twitter, text messages, and prison phone calls.
As reported by CBS News, officials stress that their investigation focused on monitoring plans to commit violent crime. Authorities report that of the 63 indicted, “dozens” have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder. District Attorney Vance states that “This isn’t about money, they were conspiring to commit violence for the sake of violence.”
Officials report that the alleged gang members openly discussed plans to murder rival gang members using social media. As reported by ABC News, this is a trend that police in many larger cities have used to their advantage.
Social media websites, such as Facebook, have been used by gangs to intimidate, brag, and threaten. The suspected gang members may not realize that they also provide authorities with vital evidence of crime.
Utilizing social media, the NYPD gang division has implemented “Operation Crew Cut,” as a cooperative effort reduce gang violence in Manhattan. The social media factor is being supported by the Juvenile Justice Division.
The 63 indictments are just the beginning of the initiative which is hoped to reduce overall gang violence in the city.