What was once accomplished through graffiti on the side of buildings or property damage in a rival neighborhood is now happening in the cyber world. Gang activity – locally and around the United States – is now going “new school,” according to University of Missouri–St. Louis criminologist Beth Huebner.

Huebner, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at UMSL, recently spoke with KMOX (1120 AM), KSDK (Channel 5) and KMOV (Channel 4) about the increased use of social media sites – YouTube, Facebook and Twitter – by young gang members.

“I’ve been interviewing gang members, and one of the biggest things I see is the use of YouTube,” she told KMOX. “People have been posting fights on YouTube as evidence of what they can do. We see a lot of use on Facebook with pictures of themselves, posing with weapons or in specific colors as part of the gang, and as a way to organize other people together.”

Huebner added in her interview with KSDK, that this is not just an area trend.

“This is happening locally, as well as nationally,” she said. “We’ve seen it in Chicago,  and many other communities, but it’s also being reported in St. Louis as well.”

Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton