Gang members exhibit similar Internet and social media use than their non-gang counterparts, but the content of the online activities mirrors their street actions – gang members are 70 percent more likely to commit Internet crimes than non-gang members, according to Criminal and Routine Activities in Online Settings: Gangs, Offenders, and the Internet.
The five-city study, conducted in Cleveland, OH; Fresno, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Phoenix, AZ; and St. Louis, MO, was funded by Google Ideas – a think/do tank that explores the role of technology in dealing with social phenomenon such as violent extremism, illicit networks and fragile states.
One of the study’s discoveries is that gang members are typically not involved in cyber crimes such as phishing, identity theft or commercial hacking, due to insufficient skills. Members do not actively promote the gang agenda online through recruiting members, drug distribution or organizational activities out of fear of law enforcement monitoring.
You can read the entire study here.