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New York City police have added a new tool to their crime-fighting toolbox -- viewing rap videos from up-and-coming rappers on the streets of the city looking for evidence of any crimes. Police and prosecutors hope that by listening closely to the lyrics and watching for clues in the videos, they may be able to file charges against those they believe to be involved in a spate of recent shootings involving alleged gang members performing as rap artists.

Recently detectives investigating weapons violations and other crimes turned to a music video as they prepared their case against 11 suspected gang members. A New York City police lieutenant maintains that the video serves as evidence that the aspiring rappers they arrested formed the nucleus of a gang whose members associated with one another for alleged criminal enterprises.

Some Bronx rappers' lyrics appear to focus on the rivalries between two once-close factions that split into two distinct gangs, WTG and Dub City. Currently, 10 members of the WTG gang are under indictment for crimes of violence originating between the two rival groups. Rap videos produced by the groups are featured in the indictment.

Other Brooklyn rappers are facing charges that don't directly accuse them of shooting rivals, but instead focus on their being members of a larger conspiracy, also felonies that carry jail time as penalties.

Those in the rap music business strive to keep it real and stay true to their roots that come from the mean streets of the city while building a loyal fan-base and furthering their career aims. They may not realize that they are leaving clues about possible criminal involvement when they upload their videos to YouTube.

Should you find yourself targeted by police for any reason, or facing indictment, arrange a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can advise you on ways to minimize your profile on social media sites that may portray you in a negative light and affect the outcome of your case.

Source: nytimes.com, "Seeking Clues to Gangs and Crime, Detectives Monitor Internet Rap Videos" Joseph Goldstein and J. David Goodman, Jan. 07, 2014

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