NEW YORK (PIX11) — Disses posted online are getting kids killed in a tragic trend known as cyberbanging, in which young gang members target rivals using social media posts.
There are more than 300 youth gangs in New York comprised of 12- to 20-year-olds with names such as Very Crispy Gangster, True Money Gang and Cash Bama Bullies.
Police say they’re clustered around a particular block or housing project and are responsible for about 40 percent of the city’s shootings. Experts say the trend of smaller, younger crews has emerged as police have cracked down on bigger, more traditional gangs.
Most of that violence stems from the smallest of disses on the street, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Dedric “Beloved” Hammond is a former gang leader and head of Operation SNUG in Harlem. When he was just 11 years old, he joined a neighborhood gang.
“Violence got more attention out in the street. It’s not about being book smart,” Hammond said.
Now, Hammond works to spread awareness about and try to stop gang violence among young people.
Hammond said cyberbanging is especially dangerous, acting as instantaneous hits broadcast to crews. He said as little as 5 to 10 seconds can pass between the time a picture is posted online to when someone is killed.
Watch the video above for how he says parents can identify if their kids are involved in gangs.