|If You Don't Know About Gangs - You Should: Part II|
|By Greg Osterstuck|
Let's look at some of the types of gangs prevalent in the United States and our prisons.
“The Bloods are a street gang founded in Los Angeles, California. The gang is widely known for its rivalry with the Crips. They are identified by the red color worn by their members and by particular gang symbols, including distinctive hand signs. The Bloods are made up of various sub-groups known as "sets" between which significant differences exist such as colors, clothing, and operations, and political ideas which may be in open conflict with each other. Since their creation, the Blood gangs have branched out throughout the United States. Bloods have been documented in the U.S. military, found in both U.S. and overseas bases.”
[NOTE: Almost all jails and prisons have Bloods. The biggest problems with the Bloods are their extremely violent nature toward the Crips. Bloods and Crips are natural enemies. To become a Blood a new member must draw blood. In other words, as a pledge to the gang a new blood must cut someone].
“The Crips are a primarily, but not exclusively, African-American gang. They were founded in Los Angeles, California, in 1969 mainly by Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams. What was once a single alliance between two autonomous gangs is now a loosely connected network of individual sets, often engaged in open warfare with one another.
The Crips are one of the largest and most violent associations of street gangs in the United States,  with an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 members. The gang is known to be involved in murders, robberies, and drug dealing, among many other criminal pursuits. The gang is known for its gang members' use of the color blue in their clothing. However, this practice has waned due to police crackdowns on gang members.
Crips are publicly known to have an intense and bitter rivalry with the Bloods and lesser feuds with some Chicano gangs. Crips have been documented in the U.S. military, found in bases in the United States and abroad.”
[Note: Crips in a jail setting quite often will not say they are Crips. In some jails / prisons Crips are outnumbered by the Bloods.]
“The Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (ALKQN, ALKN, LKN) is said to be the largest and one of the most organized. Hispanic street gang in the United States of America, which has its roots dating back to the 1940s in Chicago, Illinois. Violence is the hallmark of the Chicago Latin Kings. In their beginnings, when they were not great in size, their brutal history and propensity for violence distinguished them from other Latino gangs in Chicago, making them equal players with the larger Black "Super Gangs", such as the Gangster Disciples, the Almighty Vice Lord Nation and the Black P. Stones. The ALKN is the largest and most violent Hispanic street gang in Illinois. For example, in 2000 were approximately 1600 self-admitted Latin Kings in the Illinois prison system, and these accounted for over half of all the recorded violent acts on prison personnel and other inmates, making the Latin Kings the most violent prison gang in Illinois (FBI Fiscal Report 2000). They also played a major role in the formation and growth of the People Nation, and in recent times, the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation has grown to be the second largest gang within Chicago.”
Latin Kings in a jail or prison can be quite dangerous to other gangs. It should be noted that there are more streaming violent Latino gangs than the Latin Kings.
“The Ñeta Association (Spanish language Asociación Ñeta, or simply Ñeta) is the name of a Puerto Rican gang that began in the Puerto Rico prison system and spread to the United States. Although Puerto Rico has hundreds of small street gangs claiming its poorer neighborhoods, Ñetas is by far the largest and most dominant, controlling the illegal drug trade on the island. The gang claims about 40,000 members in Puerto Rico, 20,000 in the United States & nearly 30,000 in other parts of the world. Today, Ñeta organizations can be found throughout the prison systems of Puerto Rico, the United States, and Ontario. In 2009 they were reported as having up to 6,000 members in the North East Coast of the U.S. alone. And to almost 13,000 in South America and thousands more worldwide. The Ñetas mainly operate out of the Tri-state area. In New York, they have founding chapters in Kings County, Queens County, Nassau County and Suffolk County. Also having strong legions throughout the New Jersey area including Hudson County, Passaic County and Essex County. They are known to have over more than 30 chapters in The Garden State alone.
On June 3, 2003, seven leaders of the Ñeta gang were arrested in Long Island, New York for the stabbing and murder of two MS-13 members.  On May 6, 2009, a Ñeta drug den was discovered and busted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, in the Queensbridge Housing Projects, located in Long Island City Queens. 156 Kilograms of Cocaine and 487 pounds of Marijuana were found in the apartment complex located on 41st Street and Vernon Blvd. 2009- Ñetas have been reported to have major conflict with former allies, The Bloods, and a more severe conflict with the MS-13. 2010- Recent reports say Ñetas have been seen operating and connecting with the Bloods and Latin Kings. Ñetas are still having conflict and dangerous altercations with MS-13 and DDP.”
Click here for Part I
Part III will be published next month.
Corrections.com author, Greg Osterstuck, retired after 22 years of corrections at the Chautauqua County Jail. As a correction officer he volunteered for tasks such as DNA collection officer, notary public and instituted the current Sheriff's law library system where he researched both NY state and Federal law for inmates. He also serves as a substitute teacher at Erie-2 BOCES for Criminal Justice and several other CTE courses with junior and senior high school students. Greg is also a certified American Heart Association CPR and first aid instructor.
Other articles by Osterstuck
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Discretion is the part of the gang members as to whether they wear colors or not. There are thousands of gang members and each has their own particular means of identification. Some of these gangs in the LA area are cloaking themselves to avoid detection by rival gangs. The Crips and the Bloods have a longstanding hatred for each other, I know that for a fact having seen it in 22 years of corrections. In the facilities that I have been at the Crips are way outnumbered by Bloods. This article was written for the benefit of COs who might not have exposure to gang information, it certainly is not a book about gangs. I used Wikipedia because it gives an overall summary of the major types of gangs that we have in jails and prisons. The information that I personally have received from numerous gang seminars is confidential and copyrighted thus I cannot quote from those sources.
There are too many discrepencies within this "series" for it to be useful to anyone. In Part I you stated, "Another misconception about gangs is their members wear bandannas or certain color clothing..." However, starting out in Part II you state, "...They are identified by the red color worn by their members." It can't be both - they either wear colors or they don't. And while Bloods and Crips do have issues with each other the bloods are not the biggest enemy of the Crips. Crip sets tend to fight against other Crip sets more then they do Bloods. Take for instance the decades long "war" between the Eight Tray Gangster Crips and the Rolling 60's Crips. Also, Wikipedia is not a reputable source of information as anyone with a computer can edit a wikipedia entry. So if using a Wikipedia entry one should validate the information being presented with other sources to back it up.