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New York police launch Facebook perp watch unit

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The New York City police department has created a new juvenile justice unit intent on tracking people who discuss criminal activities on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and, um, MySpace.

According to The New York Daily News, freshly-appointed assistant commissioner Kevin O'Connor – styled as the NYPD's "online and gang guru" – will head the new unit, which will trawl Web 2.0 for information on "troublesome house parties, gang showdowns, and other potential mayhem".

The idea is to pinpoint net-savvy un-savvy juveniles who divulge their criminal plans on the web or boast about crimes already committed. You might think of them as Idiots 2.0.

In his former post with a north Manhattan gang unit, O'Connor apparently tapped the net for vital information on "a number" of shooting cases. In March, the Daily News says, the NYPD nabbed an eighteen-year-old who was part of a fatal beating after he boasted about the killing on Facebook.

No word on whether people who use MySpace to boast about their crimes will be arrested for being patently uncool. ®

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