Wes Daily on the Gang Phenomenon

Wes Daily emailed a few comments on Gangs:

Gangs are not a new phenomenon in the United States and were originally formed as social clubs and a means of self-protection. Today, gangs have evolved into violent predators focused on obtaining money and power. According to the National Drug intelligence Center (NDIC), there are at least 21,500 gangs and more than 731,500 active gang members in the United States. NDIC defines a street gang as an ongoing group, club, organization, or association of five or more persons that has as one of its primary purposes the commission of one or more criminal offenses. Street gangs are no longer just an urban problem as they continue to seek new drug markets in suburban and rural areas. Gangs and their members can be identified by various methods including self admission, tattoos, possession of gang paraphernalia, information from other agencies, and photographs. Initiations vary from gang to gang and set to set. Most common inductions required for membership include the commission of a crime such as armed robbery, assault, rape, drive-by shootings, and murder. Other known initiations entail a “beat-in” or “jump-in,” in which the inductee must endure a severe beating by gang members, or a “sex-in” in which a female member must have sexual intercourse with multiple gang members.
The Crips originated in 1969 in Los Angeles, California from a youth gang known as the Baby Avenues, which then became known as the Avenue Cribs. In the early 1970s, the Avenue Cribs changed their name to the “Crips.” This gang was originally an African American male gang, but it now accepts Hispanic, Asian, and Caucasian males and females to bolster their membership. The Crips wear blue and gray or purple and orange clothing. Members wear British Knight or Adidas sneakers. This changes in different communities throughout the nation. To the Crips, Adidas stands for “All day I destroy a slob,” and BK stands for “Blood Killer,” which are derogatory slangs towards their rivals the Bloods. NDIC estimates national membership at 30,000 to 35,000. Theses figures are based on national reporting, which is consistently low due to denial.

Rafael Gomez is leading a Forum this Wednesday (9.21.2005) @ 7:00p.m. on Gangs and School Violence at the Doyle Administration Building. Learn more.