Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on Tuesday unveiled a new initiative aimed at combating gang violence among teenagers.
During an address in California, Kelly discussed the new program called "Operation Crew Cut" which will double the size of the NYPD's Gang Division to about 300 detectives, up from the current 150.
Instead of focusing resources on established gangs, the units will target looser groups of men known as "street crews" that often threaten public housing residents.
Police say these groups of young men, which are responsible for an estimated 30 percent of the city's shootings, present unique challenges to the department.
Kelly says despite some successes, the police department has not had a coordinated, consistent approach to combat street crews until now.
"We look at what we believe is an emerging issue with youth crews, different than gangs. They are turf-based, neighborhood-based. There's no formal structure, there's no initiation, so there are challenges associated with that," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations John Bilich.
"New York does not have classic gangs like Chicago or L.A. does, but if we don't intervene soon we may confront that problem," said Richard Aborn of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City.
The NYPD's Juvenile Justice Division will also monitor Facebook and YouTube for admissions of criminal conduct and plans of future crimes.