Social media altering street-gang culture, fueling violence

Gangs Graffiti MGN Online

CHICAGO (AP) – New law enforcement materials compiled by the Chicago Crime Commission say the embrace of social media by gangs to taunt rivals or conceal drug-dealing operations is the biggest change in how gangs operate compared with 10 years ago.

The materials provided in advance exclusively to The Associated Press before its release Tuesday in a Gang Book describe how Facebook, Twitter and other sites have radically altered gang culture in Chicago. They’ve had similar influence on gangs nationwide.

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Gang-conflict mediator Rodney Phillips says there’s nearly always a link now between gang violence and something posted online. Social media broadcasts gang taunts and insults to thousands in an instant and there’s immediate pressure to retaliate.

Gang Books are used as a gang guides for regional police. That last was published in 2012.