The Bloods are a modern day street gang that was founded in Los Angeles, California. Members of the Bloods are identified by wearing red colors and an assortment of different hand signals. In addition, the Bloods are one of the most violent organized crime operations currently in the country. Over the years the Bloods gang has expanded throughout the United States and even overseas in some instances.
History: The Bloods originated in or around the 1970s in order to combat a rival group known as the Crips. In order to build their reputation, Bloods were responsible for some extremely violent crimes especially against rival gangs in the area. Gradually over time, the gang began to expand to the east coast of the United States. In 1993 a faction of the Bloods was organized within a New York City jail on Rikers Island in order to combat opposing gangs such as the Latin Kings.
Membership: Most Blood members are African American men. However, there has been a growing trend to recruit female members as well as individuals of other races and ethnicity’s. Age can range anywhere from early teens to mid thirties. The majority of the members are called “soldiers.” Soldiers are generally in their late teens to early twenties and generally are the most violent. They use violence in order to gain respect and recognition for the entire gang. Other people that are linked with the gang but are not full time members are called “associates.” There is no national leader of the Bloods, but different factions have set leaders in a hierarchical structure.
Recruitment: Generally when the Bloods are looking for new recruits they will target young teens and youths in poor African American communities. The gang uses these individuals current economical situation in order to entice them into a world of money, jewelry and expensive cloths. Also, the Bloods offer these youths a sense of security and belonging. They feel like they are apart of something.
Identification: The Bloods are normally identified by the number 5, a five pointed star and a five pointed crown. These symbols can be expressed in tattoos, clothing, jewelry, graffiti etc. In addition, another world used to identify the Bloods gang is “Piru.” This is used in order to recognize that the Bloods were originally created on Piru Street in Compton, California. There are also a multitude of hand signals that a flashed by members in order to identify themselves as members of the Bloods gang. For instance, members will take their 2 hands and bend the fingers a certain way in order to make the letters “b-l-o-o-d” clearly visible.