LOUISVILLE, Ky (WDRB) -- Disturbing social media posts with references to gangs in Louisville are causing concerns among parents in the community.
The FBI says it's aware of the posts, and is looking into them, after several parents contacted WDRB News and other media outlets.
Supervisory Special Agent Christopher Farrell says the posts are the results of gang turf wars that are happening in the streets and spilling out online -- and the victims are getting younger.
"A lot of the shootings have been younger in age, some juveniles," Farrell said.
The FBI has been watching some trends.
"We've seen a spike in social media and using different social media applications to talk with each other or post information about gang activity," Farrell said.
Farrell says 25 gangs currently operate in Louisville, and that number has remained consistent over the past few years.
"When the FBI or LMINTEL Task Force sees posts on social media, one of the biggest things that should be stressed: we aren't always watching every social media page, therefore we are reliant on the community to provide tips."
The Louisville Metro Intelligence Task Force (LMINTEL), which targets violent crime, is made up of Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD), The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The FBI says it has seen one post circulating online showing a gun with the words, "West versus East." It's one of many posts that have parents concerned.
"Gangs could stay in the east," Farrell said. "They could move to the west. They don't necessarily stay in one place. West versus East could mean a bunch of different things in between, could be between a street, west or east side of the city."
While some gang members try to stay anonymous online, the FBI says it won't stay that way.
"We use intelligence to look at who is posting, the person who is posting it -- has that person been identified as a gang member through one of the agencies?" he said. "Sometimes we can use that information to target the gang at large."
Undercover investigations, wire taps and interviews are all tools Farrell says are used by the FBI to reign in gangs. He added that the job of the FBI also includes making sure gang targets stay safe.
Farrell says agents need the public's help. He asks that anyone who sees gang graffiti, or individuals wearing gang clothing or gang markings, should notify the LMPD or the FBI.
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