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Gangs USAWe are the National CSI consulting and training specialist. We are a National and International consulting firm addressing timely issues. We specialize in Cultural Diversity, Violent Street Gangs, Domestic Terrorist, Youth Violence, Weapons on Campus, Bullying, Youth and community motivation.  We are often requested to address: community concerns. Our Clients are: Law Enforcement, Educators, Parole, Probation, Corrections, Community Organizations, Social Service Groups, Senior Citizens, Business Community, Concerned Youth, Faith-Based Organizations

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What is a gang?

The police's definition of a gang is: a group of individuals, juvenile and or adult, who associate on a continuous basis, form an allegiance for a common purpose, and are involved in delinquent or criminal activity. This definition is simple and functional. It allows the police departments to take proactive law enforcement action normally before the gang gets an organized structure. The gang may range from a loose knit group of individuals who hang around together and commit crimes together, to a formal organization with a leader or ruling council, gang colors, gang identifiers, and a gang name.

How do they join?

Many kids are intrigued by the lifestyle of the gangsters and are drawn to them like magnets. They will "hang" with them constantly trying to prove their allegiance. They may be asked to commit crimes to "prove" themselves. Once they and proven themselves, they will be initiated.

Initiation consists of a process that is referred to as being V'd in. There is usually a time limit set of ten minutes in which time the inductee will be beat on by a set number of members. They are allowed to kick and punch. Some gangs have rules where you are allowed to hit the victim anywhere on the body, while others don't allow blows to the head. The only reason the blows to the head are not permitted is so the beating can be easier to hide. The inductee is not allowed to block any blows. If he survives the beating, he (or she) becomes a member of the gang.

It never ceases to amaze me the violence and rules that the kids are willing to put up with in order to join and to belong to a gang. That is why once they become a member, it is very difficult to get them out. So the obvious solution is to try to prevent their involvement in the first place. This can be done by having a "ZERO TOLERANCE" attitude towards gang attire and gang affiliation. Keeping the child involved in sports or other activities will help to keep them occupied so they wont be tempted because of idle time. Knowing where they go and who they go with, and keeping in touch and having an open line of communication with their friend's parents will also help. But probably the most important thing you can do as a parent is to be educated and know what to look for.

Gang structure.

  1. O.G.s, original gangster. They are in it forever.

  2. Hardcore. Comprise approximately 5-10% of the gang. These are the die-hard gangsters, who thrive on the gang's lifestyle and will always seek the gang's companionship. The hardcore gangsters will most always be the leaders and without them the gang may fall apart. The gang's level of violence will normally be determined by the most violent hardcore members. They are usually the shooters.

  3. Regular Members (or Associates). Usually range from 14 to 17 years old; their jobs are robbing and stealing. They are money oriented. They are initiated into the gang and will back up the "hardcore" gang members. If they stay in the gang long enough, they will become hardcore. They usually join the gang for status and recognition. They will wear gang colors, attend gang functions, and may even participate in some gang related criminal activity all to fulfill their emotional need of belonging.

  4. Wanna-be's. Usually 11 to 13 years old; their jobs are tagging and stealing. They are not yet initiated into the gang, but hang around with them and usually will do most anything the gang members ask of them so that they may prove themselves worthy of belonging.

  5. Could-be's. Usually under the age of 10. Children of this age are at more risk when they live in or close to an area where there are gangs or have a family member who is involved with gangs. It is important to find alternatives for these children in order that they may avoid gang affiliation completely. Generally, the further into a gang that someone is, the harder it is to get out.

Make-up of different gangs.

  • Scavenger Gangs (Wanna-be's): Have no backing from the "real" gangsters. They get killed for using sect names. They are usually trouble makers. They are commonly found in the suburbs. They join gangs because they want to be cool and are nick-named "weekend gangsters". They are usually white and usually join the gang for the intimidation factor.

  • Territorial Gangs: They protect their block, neighborhood, or city. They are usually Latino or Spanish, but sometimes are black. Their purpose is to keep their gangs in their neighborhoods and they join for respect.


  • Hardcore: They want all rival gangs dead. Their main objective is to make money and to get rid of their rivals. They are mostly black, but some can be Spanish.


There are two main sects: People and Folks; however there is a third sect that is beginning to form by the name of Family. In each sect, there are many gangs which will show an allegiance to one another.


  • Some gang names: Bloods, Kings, Counts, Vice Lords, TMV's, TMC's.
  • They dress to the right.
  • Symbol: Pitchfork turned down, also, a 5 point star which stands for love, truth, peace, freedom and justice.
  • Predominant colors: red, black and white.
  • Latin Kings use a 3 point crown which is usually black and gold, or just black.
  • They are called Slobs by Folk.
  • When tagging they always cross out the "C's" (for "crip") and X out the "O's" (for rolling).
  • The structure of the beads are as follows:
    • They are red, white and black.
    • All red beads mean simply: gangster.
    • Multicolor beads alternating six of each means your moving up in rank.
    • Multicolor beads means that you have killed someone.
    • Red and black beads mean your a Vice Chief.
    • Black and white beads mean your a Chief or retired.
  • The Vice Lords use the colors of black and white.
  • Counts and Kings are from the same sect, but they are rivals. This is unusual since they are from the same sect.


  • Gang names: Crips, Cobras, Folks Incorporated, Black Gangsters Disciples, Young Guns.
  • They dress to the left.
  • Pitchfork turned up.
  • 6 point star: stands for love, unity, money, loyalty, wisdom, and understanding.
  • B.G. Kings were the first Folk gang. They were black. It originated in a Chicago prison.
  • Predominant colors: Blue, green and black.
  • The Cobras use a diamond.
  • The folk symbol is the Insane Heart: The horn for the voice of their tribe, the heart for the heart of their nation and the wing is for the rise of their people.
  • They are called "Crabs" by the People sect.
  • Crips always cross out the "B's" when tagging: "B" standing for "blood".
  • Black is for Black Gangster Disciples and Young Guns.
  • Blue is for Crip, Cash Flo, and Folks Incorporated.
  • The beads are as follows:
    • All blue means gangster.
    • Multicolor alternating every six, means moving up in rank.
    • Multicolor (blue, white and black) means a regular soldier: the only way to get them is to kill someone.
    • Blue & black: vice chief
    • All black: retired or chief.


  • Gang name: Cash flo
  • They are territorial
  • Their symbol is a triangle with a dot at each point and a "F" beneath it.
  • Their colors are blue and black
  • They are a small sect trying to be independent from the other sects; a spin-off sect if you will.

Gang attire.

Honey color cheap hair extensions also known as real hair extensions, listening to this name is super sweet, very suitable for the season of love hair extensionsis a combination of brown.
  • Dressing to the right or the left. brim of hat turned to the left or right, pant leg rolled up, shirt collars turned up on one side only, any predominance of colors, colors displayed in wrist or ankle bands, shoe laces, rubber bands, barrettes, and bandannas, tongues hanging out of one shoe, earrings worn on one side only, bandannas or scarves hanging from belt loops, pockets, or tied to the leg. Eyebrows shaved or lines shaved through them. Small tattoos on the inside of the hand or between the thumb or index finger. Burn marks (brands) on the arms, hands, or chest. Look for writing on the inside of hat, or under the brims for gang writing.


  • Some clothes that have strong gang affiliation:
    • Chicago Bulls: People
    • North Carolina: Crip Nation, or Cobra Nation
    • Detroit Tigers Hat: Disciples
    • University of Texas/Long Horn: Insane Folk Heart; looks like heart with horns coming out of it.
    • L. A. Kings: Latin Kings
    • Green Bay Packers: "G" stands for gangster.
    • Georgetown: "G" stands for gangster
    • Seattle Mariners: "S" stands for rolling 60 Crip
    • Houston Astros: "H" stands for Hoover; folk.

These are just a sample of some of the gang affiliated clothing . One thing to remember: No one wants to be mistaken for a gangster if they are not one. If your child absolutely refuses to part with an article of clothing because you suspect it could be gang related then chances are they want to be recognized as a gang member. Gang graffiti should not be tolerated; writing is common on school books, paper, etc. Hand signs are another way of identifying gang members. Any unusual hand gestures should be questioned.

Girls and gangs.

Girls are attracted to gangsters because of the respect they think they will acquire once people realize who they are going out with. Little do they know that the guys are only using them for their sexual enjoyment. Very rarely will a gangster have a serious relationship with a girl who "hangs" with the gang. And in almost all cases where the girl gets pregnant, they guy will ditch her and the baby.

Girls do form their own gangs, and also belong to spinoffs of the guys' gangs. The girl gangsters can be just as dangerous and just as organized. They also are initiated in the same manner as the boys; by being V'd in. And don't think for a minute that these beatings aren't every bit as vicious as the beatings that the guys take. In some cases, if a girl wants to hang with the guy's gang, she has to be V'd-in in order to associate with them. This is done by one of several ways. The most popular of those ways being that the girl have sex with every guy in the gang (never using protection); and in some cases, the girl has to have sex with a guy who is HIV infected to prove her loyalty.

Miscellaneous info.

How to treat a gangster? Treat them with kindness and respect and they will treat you the same way. It is all about respect. If you have a problem with them, you will accomplish more by talking nice to them and trying to get them to see your position than by being rude, disrespectful, or intimidating.

Remember that the "Real Gangsters" do have standards they live by. Their code of ethics are: Never mess with small children, old people, religious people, or innocent people. It is the "scavengers or wannabes" that act without remorse or guidelines in most cases. I have found that for that reason, the hardcore gangsters are willing to work with people like myself to get these scavengers out of the gang life. They have a tendency to cause more trouble and attention than they are worth.

Gang activity is more rampant in cities that have highway access; thus making it easier to escape from the police after committing a crime; etc.


Thanks to all of you that have sent in the following items, reproduced below, if you have any further information let us know.

Having set this page up we decided to flip the script we've had a couple of articles sent in by people with histories of gangs in their neighborhoods, so if you want to give us the real on your area post on the street life board and the best articles we'll up them here.

"Que Maravilla" There are many different Maravilla gangs. The real Maravilla gangs are based in East Los Angeles. Maravilla is one of the, if not the, oldest Varrios around. In all there's more than 10 different Maravilla gangs, all of which have members in the hundreds. These neighborhoods are real big. Maravilla goes back to the zoot suit days and beyond and was one of the first to do anything when it comes to gangs, prison etc....there's books out on Maravilla and we get mentioned in movies (American Me etc.). There's homies everywhere throughout the US even in Mexico. Maravilla holds their own!!!!!
Sir Lazy

The Gangster Disciple Nation is the same as the Gangster Disciple's but are multi racial... The G.D.N. set or Gangster Disciple Nation.....Folks set, Color is Black or Blue, mainly Black...associate the 6point star, raised Pitchfork, 3 point Crown, and the Heart with wings, Tail, and horns.. what the G.D.N. is , is kind of a clash of all in one.....Although they still have the Thug mentality but in a sense they consider themselves apart from the other's....But yet alliance with the others....This the set or clique I was associated with.. in Gary, Indiana.....Based out of Chicago and its spread wide thru out the mid-west.. Throughout the Indianapolis, Ft. Wayne, Evensville, Indiana... Cincinnati, Dayton, Cleveland Ohio. Detroit, Battle creek, Lansing Michigan and other places.. these are just the places I'm aware their at. T.I.G


Facts - Crips
  • Originated in Los Angeles in the late 60s
  • Migrated throughout the United States
  • Generally align with Folk Nation sets
  • Multiracial
  • Identifiers/symbols:
    the color blue
    blue bandannas, and rags aka:Flags
    calling each other "Cuzz"
  • Crips fight Crips
  • Members will not use the letter "B". They will replace the letter "B" with the letter "C".
  • Hit Team=Sendo Mob

The Crips are essentially from the West Coast of the United States, though they have now spread to other communities across the country. 

Starting in the 1960?s in Los Angeles when Raymond Washington formed a gang, the "Baby Avenues", they became known as the "Avenue Cribs", or "Baby Avenues". The "Cribs" are also believed to be an off shoot of the "Slausons", which at one time was thought to be the largest street gang in South Central LA. Where the name Crip actually came from is hard to pin down. . "Crip" is thought to come from the word "Crib", another suggestion is it is a reference to the TV show "Tales From The Crypt", others have said the name Crip is an acronym for Common Revolution in Progress.

Crip activity started on high school campuses like Freemont High. Feemont had the "East side "Crips", on the other side of the 110 Harbor Freeway were the "West side "Crips" and in Compton, the "Compton "Crips". Several existing gangs incorporated the Crip name into their gang set, for example the "Main Street Gangsters" became the "Main Street "Crips". Other sets included "Kitchen "Crips", "5 Deuce "Crips" and the "Rolling 20 "Crips".

Crip street gangs are not highly structured or as organized as Folks/People Nation gangs, they run under a more spur-of-the-moment basis, with leadership being assumed by different members depending upon the prevailing situation.

Crips colors are Blue, this is believed to originate from the colors of Washington high school in south LA. Crips will wear any clothing with the Royal Blue and Black colors, as well as Champion Gear, LA Dodgers,  Seattle Mariners and University of North Carolina.  They will wear any jewelry with the Letter "C" and other items such as blue handkerchiefs, shoelaces, hair rollers, hats, belts or sweat shirts. Crips tend not to use symbols like Midwestern gangs, they prefer to use acronyms, such as West Side Rolling Sixty Crips = WSRSC in displaying graffiti. This gang has made its way to the east cost but the numbers are small as they attempt to gain numbers through membership.

Facts - Bloods
  • Originated in South California to defend against the Crips
  • Generally align with People Nation sets
  • Identifiers/symbols:
    • the color red
    • red bandannas or rags aka:"Flag
    • the word "Piru" (the original Blood gang)
    • Branded with the doggie paw (3 burns).
    • Hit-team =Sons of Somora

In the early 70's, the ""Bloods"" were born. The" Blood" sets were banded together to protect each other from the Crips. The "Bloods" originated when Sylvester Scott and Vincent Owens started the "Compton Pirus", this gang started on West Piru Street in Compton. An event which assisted the rapid growth of the blood sets occurred when the Compton "Crips" had a difference of opinion with the "Pirus", the two gangs had a major fight and the outnumbered Pirus were badly beaten. This prompted a meeting between several fragmented gang sets on Piru Street, the "Denver Lanes", "Laurdes Park Hustlers", "Bishops" and "LA Brims" were in attendance. The "Pirus" aligned themselves with the "Laurdes Park Hustlers" and the "LA Brims", the Brims were eager to join alliance against the "Crips" as the "Crips" recently murdered a Brim gangster and the Brims were too small to exact revenge against the "Crips" without major reprisals. Other gangs who had been threatened or attacked by "Crips" incorporated into Blood sets as well.

The Compton "red" gangs are called "Pirus", other "red" gangs such as the "Brims", "Bounty Hunters", "Swans" and "Family" refer to themselves as ""Bloods"". Numerically, the Blood sets are outnumbered by the Crip sets, but "Bloods" are well known for their "take no prisoners" ruthlessness.

"Bloods" ID each other with the color "red", school colors of Centennial High School, and obviously red is the color of blood. "Bloods" wear red. Another color may be used in relation to the name of the set, such as green for the Lime Hood Pirus. They refer to each other as "Blood", "Yo blood", "Wuz up blood?" Bloods traditionally align themselves with the People Nation.

These gangs have no formal structure to speak of, the older members in their late 20's early 30's, are called the "Shot Callers",  the youngsters are often the foot solders. 

The Bloods has proven itself to be a force on the East Cost. With its East Coast Chapter located in Brooklyn, New York with members in Eatontown, Asbury Park, Trenton, and Atlantic City, New Jersey. 

People Nation and Folk Nation

Background - The Seeds of the Alliances

Chicago street gangs emerged in the 1960's when a "youth group" called the Black P-Stone Rangers developed into a criminal organization.

The group's leader, Jeff Fort, united the leaders of some 50 area street gangs into a single organization, calling it the Black P-Stone Nation.

The group was controlled by a 21-man commission, self-titled the "Main 21." The leaders projected the group as a socially conscious, self-help organization that would help uplift themselves and their community. 

As a result of this premise, the group sought and obtained $1.4 million in federal anti-poverty funds. These funds were then used to support the group's illegal activities. A federal grand jury uncovered the funds mismanagement and Jeff Fort was sent to federal prison.

The perceived success of Fort's Black P-Stone Nation resulted in the formation of many other street gangs, that claimed to be politically and socially motivated. Of the groups that surfaced, many dropped to a level of disorganization, while others developed into sophisticated, highly organized groups involved in prostitution, robbery, burglary, extortion, and drug sales.

Two very influential gangs, the Black Disciples, led by David Barksdale, and the Gangster Disciples, led by Larry Hoover, followed Fort's example and unified their gangs to form the Black Gangster Disciple Nation.

Throughout the 1970's, the Black P-Stone Nation and Black Gangster Disciple Nation controlled the Chicago drug trade and became bitter rivals expressing their anger by creating the bloodiest gang war in Chicago's history.

The Emergence of Alliances

Many of the leaders and members of the Chicago gangs ended up in federal and state correctional facilities. The increased number of individual gangs created a need for immediate visual gang identification that would enable members to distinguish allies from enemies among the prison population.

During the 1980's, within the prison walls, gangs began separating into alliances. The two alliance names that emerged were the People Nation and Folk Nation.

All gangs that were originally aligned with the Black P-Stone Nation aligned with People Nation.

Those that were originally aligned with the Black Gangster Disciple Nation aligned with the Folk Nation.

Many gangs or "sets," as they are called, are aligned with one of the two Chicago alliances. The more prevalent groups are shown below by alliance.

People Nation Sets

  • Black P-Stone
  • Latin Kings
  • Vice lords
  • Spanish Lords
  • El Rukns
  • Bishops
  • Gaylords
  • Latin Counts
  • Kents

Folk Nation Sets

  • Black Gangster Disciples
  • Black Disciples
  • Gangster Disciples
  • La Raza
  • Cobras
  • Eagles
  • Latin Disciples
  • Maniac Latin Disciples
  • Simon City Royals
  • Spanish Gangsters
  • Two Sixers

Latin Kings

Also known as LK, Almighty Latin King Nation (ALKN), Almighty Latin Charter Nation (ALCN).

Gender Makeup: Male and Female

Racial Makeup: Multiracial (Black, White, Latino, Asian, etc.)

Current estimates regarding active Latin Kings members within the city of Chicago run as high as 25,000. A 1995 Florida assessment estimates 286 Latin King members in the state. As of the 3rd Quarter 1997, the Department of Corrections has 166 inmates/offender members.

Members have actually traveled to locations to assist in the formation of new Latin King factions or chapters. Intelligence indicates the main factions in Chicago, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York communicate with each other when expanding their operations to other cities.

Jurisdictions with identified Latin King chapters include: 

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Chicago
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Ohio
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Puerto Rico
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin

The Connecticut faction of the LK identify themselves as the Almighty Latin Charter Nation (ALCN).

In the 1980's, the Latin Kings began Florida operations in Miami. Chapters have also been identified in: 

  • Tampa
  • Pinellas Park
  • West Palm Beach
  • Ft. Lauderdale
  • Orlando
  • Other smaller cities throughout the state


  • Latin Kings are generally well structured and organized.
  • They have a strict and detailed charter or constitution.
  • Their motto is "Once a King, always a King."
  • They have an "all for one" mentality.
  • Internal discipline is a high priority.
  • Violations may result in documented suspension, termination, physical assault, or death.
  • Most Latin King factions accept females.
  • Their main focus is to control drug trafficking and internal gang discipline, both within the prison and community.
  • Members commemorate the January 6 as "Kings Holy Day," and the first week in March as "Kings Week". This celebration normally includes the consumption of alcohol and drugs.
Identifiers/Symbols: Symbols for the Latin King include these:
  • Lion(s) Tribe
  • Tiger Tribe
  • Wolf Tribe
  • Sun
  • Diamond
  • Cross
  • Figure of a king's head known as the "master"
  • Five-pointed castle
  • Five-point crown
  • Seven pointed crown 
  • The number 5
  • All symbols consistent with the People Nation

Colors: Black and Gold or Black and Yellow

A series of unique hand signs are also used by the group.
Enemies/Rivals: Generally, all groups who align themselves with the Folk Nation are considered rivals of the Latin Kings. Some factions of Latin King from Chicago are rivals of LK factions in Connecticut.
Allies: Generally all groups who align themselves with the People Nation are considered allies of the Latin Kings. The most prominent being the Vicelords.

Other People Nation Groups of Interest

With small modifications, most of the People Nation identifiers are shared by all their aligned groups.

Some add their initials to People Nation identifiers to indicate which set they are. Examples include "VL" (Vicelords) added to a star and "LK" (Latin Kings) added to a crown to identify which set they are. Some of the major People Nation Sets are:

El Rukns (also called "Moorish Science Temple")
  • Emerged from the Black P-Stone Nation.
  • Identifiers/symbols:
    • pyramid
    • eye
    • five-point star
    • crescent moon
    • other People Nation Symbols
  • Identifiers/symbols:
    • five-pointed star
    • top hat and cane
    • rabbit head
    • pyramid
    • crescent moon
    • the letters "VL"
    • other People Nation symbols
Spanish Lords
  • Identifiers/symbols:
    • the initials "SL"
    • crosses
    • People Nation symbols
  • Identifiers/symbols:
    • a bishop's bust
    • crosses
    • other People Nation symbols
  • Identifiers/symbols:
    • the initials "GL"
    • crosses
    • People Nation symbols
Latin Counts
  • Identifiers/symbols:
    • 5-point star
    • crescent
    • knights helmet (unique to Latin Counts)
    • other People Nation symbols
  • Identifiers/symbols:
    • the word "Kent"
    • People Nation symbols

Folk Nation Sets

Some of the major Folk Nation sets are:

  • Black Gangster Disciples
  • Black Disciples
  • Gangster Disciples
  • Imperial Gangsters
  • La Raza
  • Spanish Cobras
  • Latin Eagles
  • Latin Disciples
  • Maniac Latin Disciples
  • Simon City Royals
  • Spanish Gangster Disciples
  • Two Sixers
  • International Posse

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