In Brooklyn's East New York neighborhood, Kelly said, his detectives used social media to track members of warring gangs called "the Very Crispy Gangsters" and the "Rockstarz" until they amassed enough evidence to arrest 49 gang members two weeks ago.
"By capitalizing on the irresistible urge of these suspects to brag about their murderous exploits on Facebook, detectives used social media to draw a virtual map of their criminal activity over the last three years," Kelly said
However, Kelly acknowledges, "Despite the successes in this takedown and others, the department did not have any coordinated, consistent approach to street crews."
Operation Crew Cut is meant to correct that, and the Gang Unit's members will be supported by NYPD lawyers assigned to gang divisions in New York's five boroughs, as well as by uniformed and plainclothes officers.
"Our Juvenile Justice Division will be the clearinghouse to support social media-driven investigations," Kelly said. "In addition to tracking the admissions of criminal conduct and plans of future crimes by crew members on Facebook, YouTube and elsewhere, the division will be responsible for maintaining a dictionary of sorts with [the] continually updated lexicon employed by crews as a kind of code."