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Social media fueling gang violence, behind surge of drive-by shootings in Dallas: Police

May 28, 2017  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Social media fueling gang violence, behind surge of drive-by shootings in Dallas: Police

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DALLAS (Associated Press) — Dallas police say an increase in gang violence has led to a spike in drive-by shootings that are often fueled by social media.

Interim Police Chief David Pughes told The Dallas Morning News (http://bit.ly/2qjWdP6 ) that more than 120 drive-by shootings have been reported so far this year, compared to almost 50 during the same period last year. Most of the shootings have occurred in southern Dallas.

While overall crime in the city is at a historic low, violent crime — such as aggravated assaults and robberies — are on the rise, police officials said. They said an increase in gang and drug activity is to blame for many of the drive-by shootings.

Dallas Police respond to the scene of a shooting in January (AP Photo)

Gangs often challenge each other on social media and that can lead to shootings, Pughes said. Rival gangs also often post songs disrespecting each other on social media, according to Urban Specialists, a group of southern Dallas residents working to reduce crime in the area.

“It’s not a song; it’s a threat with a beat,” said Pastor Omar Jahwar, an Urban Specialist member who grew up in South Dallas and leads a church downtown. “This has stopped being some kind of rap battle and has turned into regular old senseless violence.”

Many of the shootings have occurred in City Council member Tiffinni Young’s district. She said she hears shots almost every night in her neighborhood and that many of her constituents are concerned.

In February, a 17-year-old was shot in the head but survived a drive-by in South Dallas (Metro Video Services)

“You have seniors in our district that are living in fear that they can’t come to the other side of the door,” Young said.

The Dallas Police Department is working to address the city’s gang problem by having patrol divisions identify specific crimes they’d like to drive down and come up with plans to meet those goals, Pughes said. The police gang unit has 28 full-time officers and eight liaisons.

The police department has almost 3,200 officers, the smallest police force in Dallas in nearly a decade. The department will rely on overtime and volunteer reserve officers to deal with gang violence and crime expected to increase in the summer, Pughes said.

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