Finding Street Gang Members on Twitter

TitleFinding Street Gang Members on Twitter
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsLakshika Balasuriya, Sanjaya Wijeratne, Derek Doran, Amit Sheth
Conference Name2016 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM 2016)
Volume8
Date Published08/2016
Conference LocationSan Francisco, CA, USA
KeywordsGang Activity Understanding, social media analysis, Street Gangs, Twitter Profile Identification
Abstract

Most street gang members use Twitter to intimidate others, to present outrageous images and statements to the world, and to share recent illegal activities. Their tweets may thus be useful to law enforcement agencies to discover clues about recent crimes or to anticipate ones that may occur. Finding these posts, however, requires a method to discover gang member Twitter profiles. This is a challenging task since gang members represent a very small population of the 320 million Twitter users. This paper studies the problem of automatically finding gang members on Twitter. It outlines a process to curate one of the largest sets of verifiable gang member profiles that have ever been studied. A review of these profiles establishes differences in the language, images, YouTube links, and emojis gang members use compared to the rest of the Twitter population. Features from this review are used to train a series of supervised classifiers. Our classifier achieves a promising F1 score with a low false positive rate.