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Analyzing the social media footprint of street gangs

 

Gangs utilize social media as a way to maintain threatening virtual presences, to communicate about their activities, and to intimidate others. Such usage has gained the attention of many justice service agencies that wish to create better crime prevention and judicial services. However, these agencies use analysis methods that are labor intensive and only lead to basic, qualitative data interpretations. This paper presents the architecture of a modern platform to discover the structure, function, and operation of gangs through the lens of social media. Preliminary analysis of social media posts shared in the greater Chicago, IL region demonstrate the platform’s capability to understand gang members’ social media usage patterns.

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