California law enforcers cite a trend as gangs increasingly use social networking websites to broaden their appeal, boast of illegal exploits, pose threats and recruit new members, reports the Los Angeles Daily News. And more than ever, prosecutors are scouring MySpace, Facebook and Twitter for potential evidence in gang-related criminal cases. “Five years ago we would find evidence in a gang case on the Internet and say, ‘Wow,'” said one gang expert. “Well, there’s no more ‘Wow’ any more. Sadly, it’s much more routine.”
Cyberbanging, as authorities call it, can provide prosecutors with the proof they need in criminal cases to demonstrate affiliation in a street gang – something typically denied by defendants at trial. But George W. Knox, director of the National Gang Crime Research Center, said proving gang affiliation through cyberspace can be an arduous task. He trains law enforcers how to cull intelligence on gang membership, rivalries, territory and lingo from their Internet posts.