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Written by Timothy Long   

Gang crime is an epidemic that keeps law enforcement slogging uphill with long and tiresome investigations. The gang investigation itself has grown more complex due to technology and the way gang members utilize increasingly more sophisticated gadgets. Gangsters are younger and more tech-savvy than many investigators today. The days of pagers and pay phones are long gone.

Challenge yourself to stay abreast of current technological developments, since valuable evidence can be obtained from personal devices.

Evidence is always stored, and many gang members have no idea that they leave a trail of technological signatures directly related to their criminal activities on their high-tech phones and Ipads.

Find the expert in your department and learn as much as you can so that evidence can be seized for the criminal investigation and prosecution.

Many investigations fail to progress when traditional techniques don't uncover evidence hiding under the umbrella of technology.

Today, the "smoking gun" is the photo on a hard-drive or social media application, the texts on a cell phone or messages on Twitter.

Gang members are sharing videos of their crimes and posting photos that document their criminal activities and gang culture.

Ensure your search warrants and evidence seizures include relevant technologies that are too valuable to be overlooked.

Many officers disregard technology as a bother.

Work to change that attitude by sharing your knowledge and resources.

Establish professional relationships in law enforcement and private industry as a means of obtaining further training for your team.

Involve your District Attorney to build a thorough case for successful prosecution.

Technology is evolving and the ways gang members use it is as well.

You can use it as an invaluable tool in enforcement and prosecution.

Timothy Long is a sergeant with the Long Beach, California Police Department.

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