Impact Lab

Subscribe Now to Our Free Email Newsletter
February 25th, 2007 at 7:50 am

Recruiting Gang Members Online

Social networking websites are being used by young gang members, fuelling fears they are being used to recruit impressionable youths.


The Mongrel Mob and what appears to be their feeder gang, The Bloods, have an extensive network of members on popular website Bebo. com.

Younger members’ profiles emphasise their allegiance to the Bloods gang and tend to ape American "gangsters".

But as the age of the user increases, Mongrel Mob insignia starts appearing.

One 18-year-old user has a banner heading on his page reading Mighty Mongrel Mob Aotearoa, lists his sport as Mongrel Mob, lists his "happiest when" as Mongrel Mob, and features a picture of six youths displaying their insignia red bandannas.

His page had been viewed 9679 times yesterday.

Victoria University expert on violent offending Dr Devon Polaschek said gangs depended on recruiting young members to do their "dirty work" and the internet was a way to contact youths who may not have been accessible otherwise.

"They are really quite sophisticated, there’s no shortage of intelligence there."

Polaschek said the older gangs liked recruiting young members with no prior convictions because they received shorter sentences when they went to jail.

The Bebo gang sites are all youth-oriented with quizzes and polls on what music people like, who their friends are and who they hate the most.

All communication is written in what appeared to be a blend of American street-talk and ill-spelt text message speak.

Members greet each other with the Nazi salute Sieg Heil, advertise upcoming parties and exhort each other to "kill a Crip".

In American street-lore the Crips are the arch-rivals of the Bloods.

Some of the pages appear to be the first stages in recruiting new members, with one site asking viewers which gang they would like to join.

A police gang expert, who declined to be named, said he had heard of the gang internet presence but said there was "not a lot you can do about it".

While the Mongrel Mob and the Bloods were distinct entities, "in some areas they had a common bond", he said.

"Some parents or relations of Bloods may be in the Mob but generally members don’t join until their early 20s."



You must be logged in to post a comment.

10 Unanswerable questions that neither science nor religion can answer