Gang Etiquette

Today I'll just talk a little bit about the basics of gangs and their signs and symbols. Gangs are everywhere in our nation and are a growing problem. Almost every police department has a unit dedicated to this cause.

So what really is a gang? It's a its an organized group of three or more people with common names, signs, colors, symbols and who engage in violent and / or illegal behavior. Many of these members have a past of troubled family life. They've often been abused and have not been taught the value of human life. These individuals find acceptance and support in the gangs they join.

Here are some warning signs you know someone that may be in a gang …

– Change in hair / dress new friends with same hair / dress
– Secretive behavior about friends / activities new interest in graffiti symbols
– No explanation for routine changes change in frequented places
– Suspected drug use by changes in mood new discipline problems
– Increase of possessions such as money, hats and cloths
– Phone threats to family new fear of police new sense of bravery

You can, however, do some prevention work in order to keep it from going that far with your child. Here are a few tips …

– Insist on meeting their friends and parents
– Know where they're going, who with, where to and when they'll be back
– Set rules and enforce them
– Encourage out of school legitimate interests

So what are some of these gangs? We'll start with the Almighty Latin King Nation. They appeared in Chicago in the 1940's to support each other against racism and other social issues of that time. They're still Chicago's largest gang. Original members were Puerto Rican but now it has evolved to all races to join but are mostly made up on Spanish, Latvian, Italian, Portuguese, Mexican and South American.

What separates this group is that they preach Latin pride and some chapters have made a religion called Kingdism. They have meetings to recite their gang pledge and pray to rise to the call of Inca. They also use these meetings to discuss gang retaliation, drugs or breaking gang rules. This gang is more structured and organized than most other gangs. They also celebrate January 6th as "Kings Holy Day" and the first week in March as "Kings Week". In their gang symbol, the five points on the crown stand for love, respect, sacrifice, honor and obedience. This group identifies with the colors yellow or gold. The Chicago Police Department estimates about 25,000 members in Chicago alone.

Bloods:
This gang is based primarily in Los Angeles. They are one of the most widely known gangs due to wide media exposure in the 1980s. This gang is no longer racially specific. They usually align themselves with the People Nation. They're a rival of the Crips and often refuse to use the letter C in their writings. This gang began in 1971 and wear their colors (red) on the right side, such as red shoelaces, red belt or a red bandana in their back right pocket.

Crips:
This gang originated in Los Angeles in 1969. Crips are established in 199 areas of LA. This gang aligns themselves with the Folk Nation. This gang has also spread throughout the US and are multiracial and extremely violent. They associate themselves with the color and refuse to use the letter B in their writings. They also call each other "cuzz" and call themselves "blood killas". They also wear British Knight (BK) tennis shoes.

MS-13 or Mara Salvatrucha originated in El Salvador but migrated to Southern California. This is one of the largest, most known gangs in the US today. They added the 13 to pay homage to California prison gang, the Mexican Mafia. They quickly became the most violent gang because their originating members had experience in training for guerrilla warfare. They can also be found in Honduras and Guatemala. In 2002, gang members boarded a public bus and executed 28 people, including children. Due to their homeland, they often have access to high tech weapons and firearms and often engage in firearms trafficking. Many of these members cover themselves in tattoos. Members also wear Dodgers baseball caps with tan or Dickies and long sleeve shirts with the top button fastened. They were also deemed the Worlds Most Dangerous Gang by National Geographic.

Gangs in today's society are growing, even though some cells are declining in certain georgraphic areas due to changes in economy and other social matters. Some gangs are worldwide and some are focus in the US. All gangs are violent and involved in illegal activities. If you suspect gang activity in your area, contact 911 or your local police department.

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