General Information About The Crips Cultural Studies Essay

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The Crips are located in Los Angeles, America. L.A. is the gangcapital of the nation. They split their territory south- central, below the L.A. central skyline in west and east side. But since the 80s they are located all over the U.S. and especially in Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

The gang was founded in 1969 by Stanley Tookie Williams and Raymond Lee Washington. The two decided to unite their local gangs, so they are more powerful and stronger to battle the neighboring street gangs. The name they gave their gang has no deeper meaning. Williams said that the name "depicted a fighting alliance against street gangs- nothing more, nothing less.

The number of gang members can only be estimated. In California there are about 10 000 members and altogether they gang has approximately 35 000 members.

Most members are young African American men, only a few Crips are white, Hispanic or Asian. The founders William and Washington were both African American and came from a poor family.

Rituals and symbols

The Crips often wear a blue flag or in many cases a bandana, which is a symbol for their gang. They wear them over their face, so only their eyes are visible. Sometimes they also wear them under a hood around their waistband. In that case it is important that they wear them on the left side, because the Bloods wear them on the right side.

Some people believe the origin of the color is from the school colors of Washington High School in South L.A. Others believe they started wearing blue because of "Buddha" (a famous Crips gang member), who always wore blue and a blue bandana on his left pocket. When Buddha died, tookie made blue the Crip color in honor of his death. The different "cards" wear additional colors. For example The Shotgun Crips are in Gardena, California and have been known to wear gree, the city color of Gardena, in addition to blue.

There is also a variety of tattoos, like the six point star or the six point crown.

There is also a list of hand signs, which every member is aware of. They normally call each other "Cuzz". Crips in prison communicate verbally with Kiswahili, so they can talk "privaltly".

The Gang also tries to avoid the letters "b" and "ck". The "b" because of The Bloods and "ck" because it stands for Crips Killer. The words "kick back", for instance, would be written "kicc back" instead and when they write a world with a b, they make a cross inside it because of its association with the enemy.

All Hoover Criminal Crips sets began to use orange flags in addition to the blue flags to separate themselves from the rest of the sets in the Crips alliance, essentially turning Hoover Criminal into its own "Card" or "car" for short. Cards are smaller alliance of individual Crip gangs within the Crips alliance itself. Many Crip sets have names, which include the name of their City, a street that runs through their turf, or the name of the projects, apartment complex, or community, they control. Crips are known to shout "CaRip" as a greeting to other Crips and to let their presence be known.

Crip gang strictly bang (go to war) to defend their territory (hood) before any alliance or card and are known to be very vicious in their attacks. Also, Crips sets are always trying to expand their territories and find new territories to take over which essentially makes their wars never ending. Crips are known to mark their territories and all boundaries by the use of extreme wall banging. Wall banging consists of marking territory with graffiti which shows what gang controls that turf or going into a rivals turf and crossing out their graffiti.

Crip rivalries

When the gang began to grow and more and more joined the Crips, they started some little "wars" with some smaller gangs all over Los Angeles. The most popular one is the rivalry with the former Pirus gang. They started their violent street fight in 1971 and by 1973 the Pirus gang wanted to stop the violence. They wanted to take the Crips down and called in a meeting with other gangs who wanted the same. Anyway the battle is still not ended, but the Pirus gang is now called The Bloods.

Some think that The Crips only set feud with Bloods. In reality they fight each other too. For Example the Rollin '60s and 83rd Street Gangster Crips have been rivals since 1979. In Watts, Los Angeles, a Crip gang even teamed up with the local Bloods Gang to fight the other Crips Street Gang.


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.

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.

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.


A 15- year- old Fremont High School student named Raymond Washington started a gang called the Baby Avenues in 1969 in an attempt to be like the older gangs and copy the political activities carried out by other organizations such as the Black Panthers. He named his gang The Crips and the Crips alliance was founded.

Stanley Tookie Williams is one of the co- founders of the Crips. He started his own gang called the Westside Crips. The Crips were very well known throughout southern L.A. as more and more people began to join. The Crips eventually became the biggest and most ruthless gang in California and began targeting the other non- crips gangs with dally acts of violence. In retaliation, all non- crip gangs, including the Pirus, later formed an alliance that became known as the Bloods.

They later became obsessed with protecting themselves from the other non- crip alliance Independent gangs in the community, which began to increase violence and resistance towards the Crips. The Crips began to increase violence and take over new turf.


The Crips have a loose structure of ranks based on how long a person has been banging for their particular hood and how much work they put in for the hood. Their rank structure is as follows:

Lowest to highest

T.G. (Tiny Gangster)

B.G: (Baby Gangster)

O.G. (Original Gangster)

O.O.G. (Double O.G.)

O.O.O.G. (Triple O.G.)

These ranks don't signify leadership or dominance over anybody else in the set, they just signify respect for those who have been in the hood longer, put in more work for the hood, and have survived the longest. This means that Crips with higher rank don't give out orders or call shots over those with lower rank. Crips with higher rank are respectfully referred to as "Big Homies" by Crips with lower rank.


There are different activities the Crips do.

One of their daily activities is the Crip- Walk. The Crip Walk is a dance, which the Crips dance, in their free time and it looks kind of funny. Sometimes there are competitions between the members and some of them record their dance and put it on the Internet. But when they do, they hide their faces behind the blue bandana or other blue shawls.

Some Crips remained independent and maintained their own leadership and members. Furthermore these sets constantly fought each other, engaging in various criminal activities including extortion, assault, robbery etc. Additionally, with the influx of the crack cocaine trade in the 1980's, the Crips, along with many other street gang, became heavily involved in the narcotics trafficking/ distribution scene, which necessitated their need for firearms and other weapons.

Most of their day they spend starting a war with another street gang or threaten their neighborhood.

Crimes and recruiting new members

Gangs like the Crips are engaging in crimes, such as identity theft, counterfeiting, selling stolen goods and even bank, credit card ans montage fraud, sais a new FBI gangs threat assessment.

The chief at the National Gang Intelligence Center said, that they have seen the gang doing it even more now and we attribute to the fact that the likelihood of being caught is less, the sentences once you are caught are less and the actual monetary gain is much higher.

In 2009, the FBI estimated there were 1 million gang members. It attributes some of the 40 percent increase since then to more comprehensive reporting by law enforcement agencies.

Agency officials said they were unable to determine exactly how many new gang members there were now since the last estimate, but that membership was indeed on the rise.

Gangs are using social media such as Facebook and YouTube to recruit members and communicate as well as posting photos of their lifestyle to present a though image.

Reasons for becoming a Crip

Like I said above more and more gangs start to recruit their members via the Internet. Especially the Crips is very present. They post videos, songs, and photos of their activities.

But the main reason for becoming a Crip is living in their occupied neighborhood or if someone of your family is a Crip. If you live in the street where the Crips are the leaders and are young and a minority, you don't have much of a choice.

The Crips are on of the biggest gangs in America, so if you want to survive in your "ghetto" you join a gang. Many of the gang members are from a rotten home. So they are happy to feel welcomed and have a feeling of belonging. They make the gang their family and some would give their life for each other. The worst thing you can do is betrayal your gang and I think that is because they missed trusting their families.

Personal comment

I was really shocked when I was watching documentaries about the Crips. They don't think about others and don't hesitate killing someone. But not only the Crip, I mean gangs in general. I read a story about a girl whose brother was a Crip. She got a new car and picked her friend up and the drove to the cinema. When she stopped at a traffic light, a car drove up next to her, 3 men exit the car and shot her and her friend withal in all 50 bullets. Came out the men were Blood members and the young woman died because her brother got in a fight with them.

I also didn't know that they control a thousand lives and are that powerful. Sometimes even the police avoid certain territories, because they know exactly that they don't have a chance against the gang. They ignore 911 calls, because they know that they cannot help anyway and what shocked me the most was that most of the killers get away with what they do.

When I think about how many young women and especially men throw away their lives, it really get me thinking about distribution of opportunity and about how lucky I can be to live in a safe country like Austria!