INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A feud between two Indianapolis gangs, the Kutthroats and the Insane Money Gang, led to the recent death of a teenager and put four gang members behind bars.
According to new research from IMPD’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center, a significant amount of crime in Indianapolis can be traced back to gang activity.
The Crime Gun Intelligence Center has been collecting data for about two-and-half years.
“We started looking at numbers on that last year to try to quantify the gang problem. That 35-40 percent number comes up. My gut tells me it is a lot higher than that,” said Capt. Mike Bruin, supervisor with the Crime Gun Intelligence Center.
Social media has dramatically changed the way traditional, underground gangs work in Indianapolis.
“It is much more informal. It is less territorial,” said Bruin.
“There is almost no ‘underground’ anymore. It is in your face, it is going to be right in front of you,” said Allison Davids, intelligence analyst.
Intelligence analysts say that gangs are no longer only tied to geographical area.
“They are going to show who their affiliates are, who they are friends with, what group they belong to. They are going to show how violent they are. There is going to be a lot of shots fired in those posts, whether it is a live video or an actual post, and then, as well as calling out who they are beefing with,” said Davids.
Whereas the infamous Grundy Crew was an organized crime enterprise based around distributing narcotics, the more modern gangs — or “groups” as they are often referred to — are much smaller and are primarily built off gaining popularity or social status. It’s something police say can correlate with power.
“The groups that commit a lot of the violence — honestly what we see a lot of is marijuana dealing, not a cartel-related thing where they are bringing in pounds and pounds of meth or pounds and pounds of heroin,” said Bruin.
The landscape of gang culture is drastically changing, with younger and younger members, less initiation crime and more public feuding online.
“It is just by happenstance that groups show up at the same location; they cross each other’s path and now what has brewed on social media flares up into violence,” said Bruin.
While there is still an underground gang network, those who do their business publicly are easier for police to track.
“The younger they get, the more likely they are to be posting, and it is almost easier to find,” said Davids. “Most of them know each other and it is a very knitted community or network.”
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