Watch CBSN Live

New Chicago Gang Book explores how gangs are using social media


(CBS/AP) CHICAGO - A new book details how Chicago area street gangs are using social media to plot and do their dirty work.

The new literary work is an update on "The Gang Book," first published six years ago by the Chicago Crime Commission, a non-profit group that supports crime-fighting efforts. 

Some of the new information includes explaining how street gangs use some of the very same social media sites as a lot of people, but to cause trouble and intimidate others.

"They're a lot a smarter than I think a lot of people give them credit for. It's a challenge for law enforcement to keep up with those technologies so they can combat them by using technology against them, not allowing them to use it to their advantage," Jody Weis, president of the Chicago Crime Commission said.

Fox Chicago reports Weis said one finding that surprised him was how young gangs are recruiting members, and he thinks education of parents and kids should start as early as elementary school.

The book includes information on all Chicago area street gangs and sub-factions, including mapping out each gang's turf.

It was created to be helpful to gang investigators, but also to parents, teachers, and business owners who are seeking to learn more about the city's street gangs. 

In all there are about 70 to 100 gangs in the Chicago area, with total membership between 70,000 and 125,000.

View CBS News In