A gang consists of people bounded together for a common purpose. In their case, it is the interest for criminal and social purpose that binds them together. Gangs are more commonly found in places representing the low – income bracket. Gang members usually live in slums across the country. Most of their time is spent on the streets doing nothing if not performing crimes and other forms of violence. They kind of life they live revolve around violence, crimes and substance abuse (The World Book Encyclopedia, 1989).
It was on the latter part of the 1960s when a student from the Fremont and Locke High Schools founded a gang and named it the “Baby Avenues. ” The gang also goes by the name “Avenue Cribs. ” The name of the founder was Raymond Washington. He so named his new founded gang after the “Avenue Boys” or “The Avenues” which are older gangs. Washington gang’s “The Cribs” are assumed to be a spin – off to the “Slausons.
” At one point, the Slausons was the largest street gang ever to exist in the history of South Central Los Angeles.
How the “Avenue Cribs” or the “Baby Avenues” ended up being called the “Crips” has since then a subject of debates (“Crips,” 2008). Besides Raymond Washington, there is still another person recognized to be a founding member of the “Crips,” his name is Stanley “Tookie” Williams. Washington, together with Williams established the gang in East Los Angeles in the year 1969. If Washington was just 15 then, Williams was 17 when the Crips was established. Washington was killed in the year 1979 while on the 13th day of December in the year 2005, Williams served death sentence at the San Quenin State Prison (Inside Prison. om, 2006).
Washington founded the gang at a time when the Black Panther’s power source was almost completely removed. It was also during that time when both political and social groups have gone useless in Los Angeles. Washington was not old enough to engage himself in the Panther movement at that time. Nevertheless, he captured much of the Panther’s style of neighborhood social control. He patterned his quasi – political group the Panther’s military approach by being clad in the black leather jacket of the 1960s (Streetgangs. com, 2008).
More than imitating the Panther style, Washington also looked up to an older gang that was left dormant all through the 1960s. The gang goes by the name the Avenues. Robert Munson and Craig Munson were the leaders of the gang. As a result, Washington chose to call his own quasi – political group the “Avenue Cribs” or “Baby Avenues” to embody the youths of the new generation (Streetgangs. com, 2008). Washington’s original purpose was to carry on the radical philosophy of the 1960s. On purpose, he also wanted to serve as guardians of society and leaders of their respective neighborhoods.
However the radical mission did not last due to the lack of maturity and political direction in Washington himself. His group did not see the light of day when a schema for social reform within the neighborhood has been developed. Instead, they turn out to be too preoccupied in safeguarding themselves from the threat coming from other gangs existing around them (Streetgangs. com, 2008).
The original Crips besides its founding members Washington and Williams are Mack Thomas, Bernie Simpson, Melvin Hardy, Michael Christianson, Jimel “Godfather” Barnes, Raymond “Danifu” Cook, Greg “Batman” Davis, No. , Michael “Shaft” Concepcion, Anglo “Barefoot Pookie” White and Ecky, Most of these youngsters are identified as the toughies in their respective places of origin. They earned respect from other youths within Los Angeles during the early part of the 1970s (Streetgangs. com, 2008). It was during the year 1980s when the prisons at Texas detain several members of the Crips gang. Since no constitution has been penned down for their affiliation, they are identified not as a gang rather as a threat to security.
Others claim that the name of the gang traces its roots after an incident involving a lady reporting for a housing project in Los Angeles filed a complaint against two young robbers. The alleged robbers include Washington, the founder of the gang. The lady was able to identify one of her attackers as a cripple carrying a stick or cane. Still, there are some who claim that the gang name may be traced from another street gang that goes by the name Baby Avenue and eventually came to be called the Avenue Cribs gang. They were found in the Central part of 1960 Los Angeles (Inside Prison. com, 2006).
There are a total of 88 incorporated cities in Los Angeles County to date. And over a dozen of unincorporated cities have also been identified. The Crips gang may be found in a 24 cities in Los Angeles alone. The expansion of the Crip gangs may have reached a point of stabilization at a certain extent. However, they have also suffered decline in other places due to some shifts in demography (Streetgangs. com, 2008). The Crips are accountable for the neighborhood incidents which include but are not limited to stealing, assaults in and outside of their respective gangs and drug trade.
Most of the Crips belong to loosely organized groups whose members are teenagers and young adults in their early 20s. Nevertheless, there exist Crips gangs who are relatively more structured than the rest. They are comprised by men aged late 20s and some of its members are in their early 30s. These gangs are accountable for the more complicated kinds of drug trade at not exclusive to the street level but the wholesale sales as well. In their attempt to control drug trade in the area, they resort to violence in gaining power over certain territorial boundaries (Maryland. ov, 2007) The common practices of the Crips involve money extortion from people outside of their gang alliance. They are usually involved in different crimes across the United States. Some gang activities do happen inside the campus premises making it an unsafe environment to be in (“Crips,” 2008). The Crips are widespread across the United States. Literally they are almost everywhere. This makes it difficult even for them to identify an ally from an enemy. This is the reason that compelled them to find ways to establish identification.
They were cautious enough not to attack gangs hailed from a different group, but essentially from the same gang they are from (“Crips,” 2008). The Crips are associated white the shade of blue. The choice of color may be traced from the color that the South Los Angeles’ Washington High School is identified with. It was where the founding member, Washington went to school at. Members of the gang are clad fashion bearing shades of blue. This can be in the form of Adidas sweat pants and shirts, jackets of professional sports team, shoes and shoelaces, belts, hats, caps that has the Los Angeles teams’ names printed on it, rollers.
The Adidas brand is not the only staple in the Crips fashion, some of them do wear British Knights footwear, Dickies or Nike brands. The BK symbol also means “Blood Killers. ” The Crips are proud to claim themselves as this. When one happens to cross the boundaries of the rival blood gang, any blue kind of thing meets sure death. The Crips use other colors besides blue, particularly, purple, black or brown. (“Crips, 2008; Knowgangs. com, 2008). If the identity of one is questionable, the Crips exhibits gestures or speak in sign language. They call their brothers “cuzz. They use this argot in their usual conversation.
They always replace the letter B with C in all of their forms of communication. They do possess an intricate brand of communication that includes not just graffiti but sign languages too. Other than as a venue for self – expression, graffiti may also serve as a demarcation territorial margins. They use art, in the form of fashion, graffiti and sign language to express themselves more fully (“Crips,” 2008; Knowgangs. com, 2008). Although tattoos are commonly associated with gang membership, the Crips on their part do not usually wear this on their skin.
The concentration of the Crips is not on the United States alone. They began to establish themselves in places the world over. The most distinct of all the characteristics identified with the Crips are their high regard in individualism. They vow to promote violence against other gangs in existence. The gang rivalry between the Bloods and the Crips displays a high probability of violence involving members of the respective gangs taking place now and in the days that will come after (Knowgangs. com, 2008). ”
The east side Crips of Los Angeles is arguably the most broadly established gang in the United States of America. Thanks to the exposure the media has given them back in the year 1980. Since then, the Crips have wandered all over the United States. They may be found in most states and in detention centers. There are many gangs that have flourished carrying the name of the Crips, they amount to over a hundred by now. The Crips are racially exclusive no more (Florida Department of Corrections, 2008). The gang life is equivalent to a world of violence and crime.
In some places, there exist gang rivalries. For example, the Folk groups, specifically the Black Gangster Disciples and the Crips declare war against each other in different parts of the United States. The rivalry between these two traces back to the control of drug trade in the area (Florida Department of Corrections, 2008). This kind of rivalry is expressed in the gang’s graffiti. They use the “eight ball” as a symbol to illustrate their wrath against other gangs. An eight ball illustrated as intact signifies an alliance between the groups.
However, a drawn through or destroyed image of the eight ball declares a conflict among the groups concerned. The eight ball is certainly distinct identification of the gang. Evidently, the use of the so – called “pitchfork” as well as the hand gesture of the Crips, when done at the same time forms the number 8 (Florida Department of Corrections, 2008). There are a lot of rappers who has gone main stream and became famous who turn to the Crips by association. The so – called gangster life associated with violence has been promoted through one of the avenues of hip hop music.
This kind of lifestyle was the inspiration of many songs that have even received worldwide acclaims. Some of the lyrics of these songs may not be always about the glorification of their kind of lifestyle. There have been some lyrics that speak of criticism to the gangster life. Even so, some of the lyrics do speak of praise and promotes the kind of life these gangs live (Maryland. gov, 2007). It is important for a person to prove himself worthy if ever he expresses an intention of joining the gang. But then again, the Crips have no integral leadership in their group.
As a result, many gangs resolve into observing what they believe to be the Crips tradition. There exist no specific rules to follow in forming an alliance with the Crips. A relative or a friend of one Crip may easily be recruited as a member. Nevertheless, for the not so blessed, committing violence can serve as a ticket to the Crip alliance. This may be in the form of stealing or any other crime that may be asked to be performed (Maryland. gov, 2007). People who express interest in joining the gang do such crimes not just as a form of initiation.
They prove another thing by doing so, that is they are not members of the police force. Other forms of initiation may include beating in, an activity performed by the members to aspirants. This is a physical attack usually done in groups. This is performed until the aspirant has endured enough pain to exhibit his loyalty and bravery to the group he wishes to belong to. Gang rape may also be performed for a woman expressing interest in joining a gang. Crips affiliation nevertheless remains fluid. A member in his own will may enter and easily remove his affiliations to the group whenever he desires (Maryland. gov, 2007).