Last week, the NYPD launched its biggest gang raid ever on West Harlem’s Ulysses S. Grant and Manhattanville projects, putting 40 suspects behind bars. What is unique about this raid is that the NYPD, newly hip to social media, mined over 1 million Facebook posts for information leading to the bust. “These three gangs were not sophisticated drug trafficking organizations, far from it,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. “They were young people protecting their territories from imaginary threats and avenging the murders of fellow gang members.”
When authorities began planning for the raid four years ago, they were simply trying to help end this long-standing feud between rival gangs. But after digging into mobile phone videos and social media posts, cops found enough evidence to make a 145-count indictment of over 100 people. Gangsters took credit online for murders with posts like “MY NIGGAS BODIED A GRANT BITCH,” made threats such as “somebody gonna get hurt real bad,” and in one case even asked for “$200 to help purchase a .40 caliber firearm for $450.”
Maybe the NSA doesn’t need to work so hard to bug everyone’s phones when so many criminals are willing to incriminate themselves on Facebook.