NYPD to double gang unit


| ctumola@queenscourier.com |

File photo
File photo

The NYPD is announcing an initiative today that will double the size of its Gang Unit and focus on social media to combat gangs.

Dubbed Operation Crew Cut, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly will discuss the program Tuesday in a speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in San Diego.

In a pre-released copy of the speech obtained by The Courier, the number of detectives assigned to the “street crew” units will increase from 150 to 300 over time, he said.

Instead of concentrating on bigger gangs, such as Bloods and Crips, Operation Crew Cut will focus on ones where loyalty is tied to a small geographical area.

Police are also changing how they track gang activity by going online, where crew members are using sites such as Facebook and YouTube to brag about crimes and intimidate rivals.

This is the first time the NYPD has a “coordinated, consistent approach” to combating gangs, said Kelly

Though, as Kelly points out in his speech, gangs are “responsible for no less than to 30 percent of shootings in New York City,” shootings are down by about one percent compared to this time last year and murders have been reduced by 18 percent.

“We’re hoping that by focusing more resources in a coordinated thoughtful way on these crews we’ll reduce violent crime in New York City even further,” he said.