Friday, March 25, 2011

Los Angeles Street Gangs: Bloods & Crips

by Women in Crime Ink

Following is an excerpt from the book The Rough Guide to True Crime, which includes a section on organized crime. Within that is an overview about the street gangs of Los Angeles.

Successive waves of migration to the West Coast have resulted in California being home to a bewildering array of street gangs, hiker gangs, Triads, and other criminal outfits.

Other lesser-known groups include Mongols MC, a motorcycle band founded in 1969 and based in the southern part of the state (although it has chapters elsewhere, including in Scandinavia). The Mongols have a record of being successfully infiltrated by federal agents, leading to arrests and convictions for violent crimes and racketeering. In October 2008, a judge granted a controversial injunction to ban the club logo, which depicts a Mongolian warrior wearing shades. Also active are the Satanas, a Filipino American street gang in Los Angeles, the United Bamboo Gang, a large Taiwanese Triad; the Mars 18, one of several gangs whose membership is largely drawn from L.A.’s El Salvadorian, Guatemalan and Honduran communities (the gang is known simply as El Criminal in El Salvador); and the Black Guerrilla Family, an African-American prison gang with a tough agenda of overthrowing the government.

Los Angeles is the metropolis of street gangs and gangland criminals. Perhaps its most notorious gangs are two African-American outfits, the Bloods and the Crips. The Crips started in the neighborhoods of West Los Angeles around 1970. The smaller neighborhood gang consolidated and joined forces under the leadership of Stanley “Tookie” Williams and Raymond Washington. Soon, other gangs started renaming themselves, incorporating the word “Crips” into their new names – gangs such as the Main Street Crips, Kitchen Crips, 5 Deuce Crips, and Rollin 20 Crips – appeared on the streets.

There are estimated to be at least 30,000 Crips. But unlike the hierarchically organized Mafia and Asian gangs, this mainly black gang is more of a loose federation. Williams wrote a memoir, Blue Rage, Black Redemption, in which he termed the Crips a “fighting alliance.”

In 1973, a Crips group was formed in Compton, in South Central L.A. It called itself the Piru Street Boys and became powerful and well organized. It has been in the nature of the loosely organized black gangs that bloody feuds develop in the absence of a regimented structure. And so it was with the Pirus, who broke off violently from the rest of the Crips, calling themselves Bloods instead. The rivalry and factionalism continues today.

One of the Crips founding members was a man called Buddha, who wore a blue bandana together with blue jeans and a blue shirt. When he was killed in 1973, gang mourners wore similar bandanas as a mark of respect and, with that gesture, the Crips adopted the gang color that identifies them today. Crips gang members wear blue articles of clothing, shoelaces, hat, hair rollers, and canvas belt. In some cities, members wear light blue. They generally write their graffiti in blue, tagging their gang names on walls to mark their territorial boundaries and to publicly taunt their enemies or rivals. They use terms like “BK” (Blood Killer) and “PK” (Piru Killer). Crips also refer to one another as “Cuzz” and use the letter “C” to replace the letter “B” in their conversations and writings (for example, “Meet me at the cusstop” or “that guy has crass calls”). Conversely, Bloods wear the color red and refer to one another as “Blood,” “Piru,” or “CK” (Crip Killer).

As for tattoos, a teardrop by an eye can indicate that its wearer is a murderer. In the past, black gang members eschewed tattoos, but that’s changed; today, members are tattooing themselves in the same manner as the traditional Hispanic gangs that sport multiple tattoos identifiable to certain gangs, helping police ID crime suspects’ affiliations.


Criminal Records said...

Where can I find this book in europe?

Cathy Scott said...

Thanks very much for asking. The book was released by Penguin UK, and you can order it from Amazon UK. Here's the link:

Anonymous said...

warning duane kelly is a gang banger and needs to leave toledo or hes gonna get us is now july 8th 2011.please pray that hes gone soon.