Birmingham gangs are banking up to £10,000 by making YouTube grime videos – where they boast of shootings and issue threats to each other.
A councillor has now called for an end to the huge payments being made by internet companies, which may be funding criminality.
The Birmingham Mail previously told how gang members were using videos like Trapline Jump to boast about shootings and stabbings.
We also revealed the emergence of three new gangs in the south of Birmingham, involved in drugs, robberies and child sexual exploitation.
Labour councillor for Longbridge Andy Cartwright said police had warned him about gangs targeting schoolgirls for rape and how they were making advertising revenue after placing grime videos on YouTube.
He said: “The police showed us a video gang members had made of themselves rapping. They said after the video gets so many hits they can get a payment of about £10,000.
“In these rap videos the gang members are literally making threats to one another, and encouraging others to join them and their criminal activity – and they’re being paid to do so.
“Surely this isn’t right? How can these Internet companies be allowed to let this happen and what is the Government doing about it?”
We told previously how the Frankley Killers, the 247365 and 61 gangs had emerged around the Northfield area of Birmingham.
Gangs members have been involved in multiple shootings and stabbings.
Cllr Cartwright said: “I was invited by the police to a police station to hear about their concerns about the gangs and child sexual exploitation.
“I was so concerned about what I heard that I invited a police officer to give a talk to our district councillors’ meeting. Only three councillors turned up including myself.
“When I qualified as a youth worker in 2008 the Burgers and Johnson gangs were the gangs of the time. Then the police worked with schools right down from junior to senior level.
“I used to go into schools with them and they’d tell kids why they shouldn’t be in a gang. But sadly this issue has come back up again and in a bad way.
“This is an issue in Longbridge as well as Northfield. Longbridge has not recovered from the loss of the MG Rover jobs.
“We were told that 10,000 new jobs would be created but it never happened and that has had an impact on the local economy.
“These gang members are throwing down seeds that will get bigger and take over the area.
“I’m someone who has seen how powerful and frightening the gangs can be.”
Police have also investigated claims schoolgirls as young as 13 have been raped – with the attacks recorded on phones.
Cllr Cartwright said: “The community has got to come together to deal with this issue – schoolgirls being raped and filmed by gang members.
“The youth service in this area is diminished. Sadly the police do not have the resources they once had.
“But this is life-changing for these young girls. I’m a father of four myself. It’s frightening to hear.
“The police have got the power to stop these gangs but as a community we have to help them. We have to come together – parents, teachers, young people, police, everyone.
“It doesn’t get much worse than this – girls as young as 13 being raped and filmed by gang members.”
Cllr Cartwright said prevention needed to start early.
“The reality is that if you’ve got a lad who’s aged 16 or 17, you’ll never get him away from the gangs,” he said.
“But it’s six, seven, eight, nine and ten-year-olds and so on that we need to focus on.
“We need to provide service in the area and give them a future – the promise of a job.
“And we have to take a stand – everyone in the community needs to be aware and needs to share what they know.”
Northfield MP Richard Burden told the Birmingham Mail it was quite wrong that gang members could make money from online music videos which appear to encourage violence.
“It’s quite wrong. All internet providers need to be far more vigilant to prevent such access and they need to be vigilant across a whole range of other types of abuse and intimidation.
“But I believe an unintended consequence for the gangs is that some members have been identified as a result of these videos being online, despite them appearing with masks on.”
They are the Birmingham grime videos which have sparked police investigations after gang members allegedly used them to threaten rivals.
A video called ‘Don’t Lack’ appeared on YouTube on January 25, 2017 and was allegedly made by members of the Frankley Killers.
It allegedly contained threats against members of the 61 gang and has so far attracted more than 55,000 hits.
But the viral video also sparked arrests.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “Police were made aware of the video posted on Youtube in February this year and as a result five teenagers aged 16-17, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.
“Following investigations, all five were released without charge.”
The 61 gang are allegedly behind the Trapline Jump video which was posted on Youtube on December 18, 2016 and has been viewed more than 160,000 times.
In the footage a gang of hooded and masked youths are seen on the streets of south Birmingham, making gun and gang signs.
A West Midlands Police car is seen in slow motion at one point during the video, which is shot under the cover of darkness.
Other videos from south Birmingham gangs have also appeared on YouTube, making reference to specific streets and featuring road signs.
A Rolls Royce and a Mercedes appear in some of the videos, which also mention Salford in Manchester and Newtown in Birmingham.
In May the Birmingham Mail revealed how the city’s gang members are using grime videos to make chilling coded threats to each other on YouTube .
The Frankley Killers and the 61 and 247365 gangs are using lyrics and making gun signs to warn each other and boast about previous stabbings and attacks.
During the videos they rap about ‘44s’ which is short for 44 calibre revolver, while lyrics also reference ‘nines’ – short for 9mm calibre handguns.
Getting a ‘spin’ refers to getting a revolver, a clot is a shotgun while a ‘sheffing’ infers a stabbing.
It’s understood a number of arrests have been made in regard to the Don’t Lack video, which is alleged to reference a shooting and a separate stabbing in the city.
A string of viral videos made by brutal gangsters threatening people and glorying in their crimes in Birmingham prompted chiefs to demand urgent action from social media companies.
In May senior cops told the West Midlands Police and Crime Board that it was “very rare” for internet companies to remove videos from social media platforms, despite repeated referrals from officers.
Crime Board member Waheed Saleem had earlier asked senior officers what the force was doing to take down videos that are posted on social media to glorify violence in the West Midlands.
Assistant Chief Constable Alex Murray said at the time the force was working hard to remove videos and identify offenders as quickly as possible. He said a number of people had been arrested in connection with videos from alleged gang members in south Birmingham, which had attracted some 50,000 hits online.
However, he said many requests made by police to remove had been ignored by big internet companies.
The three gangs are based around Northfield in south Birmingham.
The 61 gang are named after the bus route which borders their territory. They are based on the west side of the bus route while the Frankley Killers are based on the east side of the bus route in Kings Norton.
The 247365 gang – based in Bartley Green – are named because they are said to be ‘at it’ (gang activity) for 24 hours a day, seven days a week – for 365 days a year
All three gangs are said to be involved in Class A drug supply, including heroin and cocaine, as well as dealing in Class B cannabis.