The notorious Chicago Folk Nation Gang King, Larry Hoover, runs his criminal organization from behind the walls of a federal prison. His enterprises also include a record label, clothing line, and a sophisticated gang Website. Just general street knowledge and the proper computer resources can get you on the Internet, and maybe to the MySpace Internet community.
Anybody (even a child) can access the Gangster King's twisted gang propaganda and communicate with his henchmen anywhere in the World Wide Web. This happens every day, not just in the big city urban ghettos, but in Smalltown, U.S.A., as well.
Gangs Embracing the Computer Age
Once I was monitoring some gang dialog in an 18th Street chat room. Two 18th Street gang members were talking up their gang and their own criminal history when one gang member wrote, "Remember when we used to beat up nerds? …and now we are nerds!"
Gangs have evolved in criminal and technical sophistication from the school drop outs of the 1960s. Today's gang members utilize all the modern electric means of communication including; laptop computers, iPods, Blackberrys, video cameras, and multiple function cellular telephones.
The 18th Street main gang website is run by Kristopher "Kasper" Flowers, a tattoo artist from Hollywood. Adorned with facial tattoos of "18" and "666," he is a 30-year-old admitted 18th Street gang member who has sworn off violence himself. In an interview for the Associated Press, he said that the police should check these gang Websites "If I was in their shoes." (July 5, 2006 "Web Bangers" AP Article by Andrew Glazer)
If you take the time to explore the Internet, you can find Southern California "Sureño" as well as their archrivals Northern California "Norteño" Websites. Many Los Angeles gangs have staked out turf in cyberspace and you can find sites for White Fence, Florence, Hoover Crips, 18th Street, and MS13. General headings like Skinheads, Raves, Hells Angels, Mongols, Bloods, Crips, and Lowriders will yield even more gang bangers on the Web. With a little more searching you can find the Websites of serial killers Richard "Night Stalker" Ramirez and Charlie Manson that they established for their adoring fans.
This wealth of online gang information is a good thing for anybody working gangs. Gang members love to brag about their gang and its exploits. They threaten and harass rival gangs and post pictures of homies with drugs and weapons. I have seen actual footage of a drive-by shooting in progress on a gang Website.
I suggest that you establish an identity on MySpace and look for your city's gangs and most active gang members on the sites. Learn the text message slang and common gang euphemisms and code words. Read between the lines as well as recognizing the obvious. As the sites are discovered by the police they will change and move, so record (or photograph) the information and document the time and date.
Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Tom Ferguson uses the Web photographs of taggers standing in front of their "works of art" he finds on public Websites to identify and prosecute these vandals. You can do the same thing. But be careful, there are also Websites out there that work against us. There are police abuse sites that solicit complaints against cops, and sites that demean and threaten cooperating witnesses like "Stop Snitching" and "Who's a Rat."
I went fighting and kicking into this cyber world, but we can no longer afford to be gang detective dinosaurs. To quote myself, "Yes, the dinosaurs were once great, but because of their small brains and inability to adapt they are now extinct!" Use this computer technology to enter the 21st Century gang-busting world.
Just for exercise try checking out these websites: