NYPD Forms Task Force To Track People Who Brag About Crimes On Twitter, Facebook And Myspace
The NYPD has formed a new unit to track troublemakers who announce plans or brag about their crimes on Twitter, MySpace and Facebook.
Newly named Assistant Commissioner Kevin O’Connor, one of the department’s online and gang gurus, has been put in charge of the new juvenile justice unit. He and his staff will mine social media, looking for info about troublesome house parties, gang showdowns and other potential mayhem, sources said.
The power of social media to empower both criminals and cops has been on full display in London this week, where riots and looting have been spreading dramatically.
The rioters have been using Twitter and BlackBerry messages to choose targets for looting or burning – and to alert one another about police positions.
The very same social media have been a source for those trying to help cops by posting photos of rioters.
O’Connor’s new unit will operate under the Community Affairs Bureau; it will also handle outreach programs, with its mandate going beyond the Net.
Still, the 23-year veteran is known for his success in online policing, including stings to catch predator pervs looking for sex with underage victims.