Posted by Crime Tech Solutions
Gangs are everywhere, it seems.
They’re known and feared across the world. Their nasty reputations are due to the nature of their crimes: arson, murder, drug-trafficking, armed robbery, etc.. But today’s street gangs are less The Wire and more Wired.
In the digital era, gangs are putting an increased amount of focus on white-collar crimes. In April, members of a California gang were convicted of crimes including identity theft and credit card fraud.
In New York, a gang made $1,500,000 in a year running a money order scam. A New Jersey chapter of the Crips manufactured counterfeit gift cards. Florida gangs are stealing identities to file false fax returns.
Diedre Butler, a unit chief at the National Gang Intelligence Center, says gangs are switching to financial crimes because, “the likelihood of being caught is less, the sentences once you are caught are less, and the actual monetary gain is much higher.” Gangs are also using social media such as facebook as recruitment tools, and to present an image of toughness online. Authorities are learning to closely monitor social media for evidence of gang activity.
The merging of gang crime and financial crime poses a problem for police departments who often have separate units for dealing with each type of crime. Police also warn that gangs are still as violent as ever, despite their foray into white-collar crimes, causing the NYPD to take measures such as introducing a Grand Larceny Division.
The world is becoming increasingly digitized, and criminals will always follow the money. In order for law enforcement to fight this new wave of crime they must be proactive and adapt to the modern world.