NEW YORK CITY — The NYPD will double the size of its gang division to crack down on violent street crews that boast about violence on social media, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly will announce Tuesday.
Called Operation Crew Cut, the plan will beef up the number of gang detectives to 300 from 150, Kelly will announce at a conference a San Diego with his fellow police chiefs.
But rather than targeting established criminal organizations like the Bloods and the Crips, the new detectives will focus on loosely affiliated gangs of young men and teens who battle over street space and commit retaliatory attacks.
The announcement followed the NYPD’s mass arrest last month of 49 alleged members of two gangs that warred with each other in an East New York public housing project — the Very Crispy Gangsters and the Rockstarz.
“Their rivalries are based not on narcotics trafficking or some other entrepreneurial interest but simply on local turf,” Kelly will say, according to prepared remarks that will be delivered to the International Association of Chiefs of Police in San Diego.
“In other words, you come into my backyard and you get hurt. You diss my crew and you pay the price.”
Kelly will tell the conference Operation Crew Cut would also involve tracking gangs on social media where members brag about violent attacks and intimidate informants and rivals.
In the case of the Very Crispy Gangsters and Rockstarz, members’ Facebook activity allowed investigators to “draw a virtual map of their criminal activity over the last three years,” Kelly will say.
The NYPD chief will also describe how the gangs used Facebook to intimidate. He will tell the conference how investigators found orders of protection naming complainants that gang members had posted on the site.