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The notorious street gangs in New York are using the Twitter microblogging service to arrange fights and antagonize rival groups. The New York Daily News reports that a boy who was shot in the leg last month in New York might have been attacked as a part of an ongoing spat between Harlem gang Original Young Gangsters and rival factions.news
Lieutenant Kevin O’Connor of New York police department’s gang intelligence unit said the situation is “horrible”. However, they are actively monitoring the public Twitter accounts of suspected gang members. “It’s another tool, just like old phone records,” said one police officer. “We can go through them (tweets) to track these guys.”
Many of the gang messages can be found through a simple Twitter search for phrases such as OYG, the original young gangsters. One tweet, from a girl with the username LickSumIishaHun, read: “I knoe b*tches from oyg that would dead mob yah sh*t in Harlem”. Police say it was aimed at drawing out a rival for a fight.
A 15-year-old member of the 28 Gunnaz crew, said tweeting was like any other “form of communication”, with the added advantage of everyone being able to follow the conversation.
He told the New York Daily News that this could fuel disputes, with tensions escalating when other gang members heard what rivals were saying about them.
Another 15-year-old gang member of rival firm The New Dons, said Twitter was useful for “setting up the fights” and making plans.
He said that gang members took steps to protect their Twitter profiles from the police, using complicated slang to throw investigators off the scent, and setting profiles to private so they could not be followed by just anyone. “We got our own page,” said The New Dons gang member. “Our page is private.”
Youth workers in New York are using Twitter to try and keep peace on the streets. Vernon Williams, a church pastor in Harlem, said he and his staff at the perfect peace ministry youth outreach used the microblogging service, and other social-networking sites, such as MySpace, to keep tabs on 4,000 at-risk teenagers, reports the Telegraph.
Last week, the group was able to diffuse a potentially violent situation when it saw chatter on Twitter that suggested gang members from The New Dons and rivals Get Money Boys were arranging a fight. “They were threatening to go and hurt two people,” said Pastor Williams.
Twitter named ‘top English word’
Twitter, the popular phenomenon of social networking, has been named the top English Word this year in a survey. Texas-based Global Language Monitor put together a list of the top words and phrases and found that the word was more popular than Obama and H1N1, which is commonly known as the “swine flu”. Wrapping up the top five words were ‘stimulus’ and ‘vampire’, reports the Telegraph newspaper.twitter
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