Gangs are a growing problem for neighborhoods worldwide and there is no relief in sight. The youth involved with a gang average between the ages of 14 up to 26. There are reported cases of members being as young as eight or as old as 40. The members are violent and involved with criminal activity in numerous ways.
The youth involved are typically children that have a low self esteem, come from poor backgrounds and many have a home life that consists of violence or they do not have a home life. The majority of gang members joined for a sense of family, protection, attention or as way to belong. When recruited into a gang, the new kid is permitted to hang out with the others and learn the specific gang’s language and signs.
After a short span of time they have become impressed by the lifestyle of the other member which usually includes power and money. After a while the new comer is told that they must show their loyalty in order to belong. The process of showing loyalty could include committing a crime or getting jumped in.
One of the most well known street gangs are the Bloods. This gang was originally formed in 1971 in order to retaliate against the Crips. The Bloods were previously known as the Piru Street Gang which was for Piru street in Compton. The Crips had a large internal gang war which led to some members breaking away and eventually became the Bloods. In South Central Los Angeles, there were primarily the gangs with the Bloods originally outnumbered by three to one.
To declare their power regardless of the size they increased the violence to demonstrate their power over the Crips. The Bloods main recruitment is geared towards young African American males who reside in poor communities. They have maintained the initial lure of providing the youth with protection and offer them a sense of belonging.
The Bloods colors are and have always been red, with members noticed by wearing a red bandana or rag. The street gang the Bloods has broken off into sets in other cities some of which wear a rust, orange or tan bandana which is meant to have the representation of dried blood. Tattoos are also identifying marks for street gangs, many of which include the cities area code. They have a language used among the members as well as symbols one of which is they often will cross out the letter c from words as a form of disrespect for the Crips.
The graffiti associated with this street gang are symbols such as the word Piru and anti Crip graffiti. They generally will align themselves with and feel they are allies of the People Nation. The Bloods rival all gangs associated with the Folk Nation Gang Alliance. These alliances were created in the 80’s for alliance protection will in the prison system.
The Bloods pledge
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United Blood Nation. I pledge my heart and soul to the flag-N-to all my brothers and sisters in the UBN “UBL” or any other nation a part of the Bloods. I pledge to represent the flag to the death of me. No one or nothing will be allowed to come before my almighty Blood Nation. I give my life as well as take one for my UBN “UBL”. With this oath, I pledge my life to the UBN “UBL” and all its sets. R.I.P. O.G. TYE.”
The Bloods Prayer
Will I ride? Yes I ride. Only because I bang with pride. When I die bury me 3ft up with red on me. Rest in sleep, best believe I rest in the East. If I die in the street, don’t forget to bang for me. If I live a G, won’t forget the enemy. They lay out to rest hit 031 upon my chest” (031 is their symbol for I am Blood).