As Nashville police investigated the murder of Jeremy Green, they took to the streets, interviewed witnesses and turned to a different source that is quickly becoming routine in gang investigations: Facebook, reports The Tennessean. As social media gain prominence in everyday life, police are finding it a useful tool for tracking criminal activity.
Gang members often publish photos of themselves holding money, guns, and drugs. Authorities are seeing gangs in particular begin to use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to organize their activities and recruit new members. “I think it's the new reality. It's the new reality for every person with the Internet and this different social media. I don't think it's going to be a flash,” said Lt. Gordon Howey, who heads the police gang unit. The FBI warns in its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report that gang violence expanded over the past two years and that the increase in communication technology — smartphones and social media — is partly to blame.