Teen crews linked to 40 percent of NYC shootings - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Teen crews linked to 40 percent of NYC shootings

By JAKE PEARSON and JENNIFER PELTZ

Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) - There are more than 300 of them in New York - violent crews of dozens of 12- to 20-year-olds with names such as Very Crispy Gangsters, True Money Gang and Cash Bama Bullies.

Police say these groups, clustered around a particular block or housing project, are responsible for about 40 percent of the city's shootings, with most of that violence stemming from the smallest of disses on the street, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

"It's like belonging to an evil fraternity," said Inspector Kevin Catalina, commander of the New York Police Department's gang division. "A lot of it is driven by nothing: A dispute over a girl or a wrong look or a perceived slight."

The trend of smaller, younger crews has also been seen in Chicago and Northeast cities over the last few years as police have cracked down on bigger, more traditional gangs, experts said. While the Bloods, Crips and Latin Kings still exist, operating such money-making schemes as drug dealing, their members are usually older and understand the timeworn mantra of organized crime: violence is bad for business.

Not so for the crews, whose recklessness prompted former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly in 2012 to launch an initiative to confront the crews dubbed Operation Crew Cut.

Investigators now focus on gathering intelligence about specific crews - understanding their activities, allegiances and feuds which they glean through traditional street policing and trolling of social media sites, cell phone photos and even recorded jailhouse calls.

Police have also stepped up arrests of the most active crew members. In Manhattan, prosecutors set up an internal email alert system that notifies them when crew member are arrested, even on minor charges, and provides beyond-the-rap-sheet details for bail arguments. The prosecutor might mention that the person was a suspect in another crime or had made threats on Facebook, for instance.

In a recent case in Harlem, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. says a 2009 killing kindled years of vendetta attacks, including three killings and 30 shootings. Sixty-three people were rounded up, and at least 62 entered guilty pleas, including crew members so young that one told another to "mob up" after school.

"The evidence was very powerful," said Robert Anesi, who represented a 19-year-old who pleaded guilty to attempted murder and conspiracy charges in the case last week. "They had such access to social media and they knew who the players were."

NYPD statistics show gang arrests are up citywide nearly 14 percent from 2013 - and more than 28 percent from two years ago. Shooting incidents citywide are about the same as they were last year, with 282 recorded so far, and are down by nearly 23 percent from two years ago.

Still, crew-related violence persists despite record dips in overall crime in New York City over the last few years. The most notable recent case came in March when investigators say a 14-year-old member of the Stack Money Goons shot a .357 revolver at a rival member of the Twan Family on a crowded bus in Brooklyn. The bullet instead killed an immigrant father who was working two jobs to support his family.

"When you ask young adults, 'Why? Why did you shoot that young man?' Probably 80 percent of the time the answer is: He disrespected me," said Kai Smith, an ex-con-turned-businessman who runs a gang-diversion program in city high schools.

Smith works with students who have been arrested at least once, forcing them to define what disrespect means through exercises and role-playing.

Jamal Williams, 18, a high school junior, says he's been affiliated with crews and gangs since he was 9, though he's trying to turn his life around.

"A crew to me is a family," he said. "They are going to be there for me like my parents was never there for me."

As more crew members are locked up, investigators are noticing a trend of crew members shifting affiliations behind bars, emerging as a sort-of hybrid gang-crew combination with diffuse connections and alliances.

"That has really complicated this universe," Catalina said. "We went from a traditional gang problem to a crew problem and now we're morphing back into somewhat of a traditional gang problem."

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Unapologetic Trump digs in on immigration despite outrage

    Unapologetic Trump digs in on immigration despite outrage

    Monday, June 18 2018 4:20 AM EDT2018-06-18 08:20:01 GMT
    Monday, June 18 2018 8:44 PM EDT2018-06-19 00:44:07 GMT
    (Butch Comegys/The Times-Tribune via AP). U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks on immigration policy and law enforcement actions at Lackawanna College in downtown Scranton, Pa., on Friday, June 15, 2018.(Butch Comegys/The Times-Tribune via AP). U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks on immigration policy and law enforcement actions at Lackawanna College in downtown Scranton, Pa., on Friday, June 15, 2018.

    Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new "zero-tolerance" policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution.

    Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new "zero-tolerance" policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution.

  • Director: FBI won't repeat mistakes noted in watchdog report

    Director: FBI won't repeat mistakes noted in watchdog report

    Monday, June 18 2018 2:40 PM EDT2018-06-18 18:40:23 GMT
    Monday, June 18 2018 8:43 PM EDT2018-06-19 00:43:42 GMT
    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, left, and FBI Director Christopher Wray wait to testify as the Senate Judiciary Committee examines the internal report of the FBI's Clinton email probe and the role ...(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, left, and FBI Director Christopher Wray wait to testify as the Senate Judiciary Committee examines the internal report of the FBI's Clinton email probe and the role ...
    The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says the Justice Department has a "serious credibility problem.".
    The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says the Justice Department has a "serious credibility problem.".
  • Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

    Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

    Monday, June 18 2018 5:20 AM EDT2018-06-18 09:20:00 GMT
    Monday, June 18 2018 8:32 PM EDT2018-06-19 00:32:00 GMT
    In its latest revision to an international disease classification manual, the U.N. health agency said Monday that classifying "Gaming Disorder" as a separate condition will 'serve a public health purpose for countries.' (Source: Pixabay)In its latest revision to an international disease classification manual, the U.N. health agency said Monday that classifying "Gaming Disorder" as a separate condition will 'serve a public health purpose for countries.' (Source: Pixabay)

    The World Health Organization says that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a new mental health condition, in a move that some critics warn may risk stigmatizing its young players.

    The World Health Organization says that compulsively playing video games now qualifies as a new mental health condition, in a move that some critics warn may risk stigmatizing its young players.

Powered by Frankly