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The Crips is one of the largest gangs in the United States. Founded in Los Angeles during the late 1960s, the Crips gang developed and rose in strength due to the breakdown in the community leadership of the African American community following the LA riots. As the gang began to profit from the sale of narcotics, crack cocaine, more sets were developed and moved different cities. Currently there is an estimated 800+ Crips sets in the United States with the gangs membership being between 30,000 and 35,000 members. Many of the local Crips sets throughout the United States are loosely structured and independent from the original Crips set in Los Angeles. Sets can range in size from 3 to 100 members and can be either structured and highly organized drug organization or unstructured groups of juveniles who engage in local crime.
In the Maryland, Virginia area majority of the Crips sets are loosely structured neighborhood gangs that follow the Crips “culture” in terms of colors, clothing, tattoos and graffiti. Members are typically involved in the street-level sale of drugs as well as robberies, thefts, and assaults. Like all gang members, they are opportunist when it comes to committing crimes.
The street gang known as the Crips, originally founded by Stanley “Tookie” Williams, uses a variety of identifying markers. Ranging from tattoos to hand signs, the images depicted below are some of the more common identifiers among the gang. The color blue is often used on apparel to indicate affiliation with the gang, which is in opposition to the red color worn by the rival Bloods. Blue bandanas, blue rags, and calling each other other “Cuzz” and “Blood Killas” (BK) are frequent identifiers of the gang. Moreover, the letter B will often be replaced with the letter C to prevent affiliation with the Bloods. The most common idenfiiers other thean the color of Blue are the six point star and six point crown.
Crips members throughout the United States are predominantly African American. However, in the Maryland Virginia area there are several cases of members being Caucasian and Asian. Typically, members consist of men from their early teens to their mid-twenties. In the more highly organized Crips sets, men may hold leadership position into their late twenties to early thirties. These sets are also likely to be more violent in order to protect business and drug territory over rival gangs.
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