US Street Gangs - Crips
The Crips, originating in Los Angeles, California, are one of the oldest, largest, most violent and most notorious gangs in the United States. They have been involved in murders, robberies and drug dealing in the Los Angeles area. The Crips are mostly identified by the blue color worn by their members. What was once a single gang is now a loose network of "franchises" around the
History of the Crips
The Crips were founded by Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams. Williams argued that this was after the two became fed up with random violence in their neighborhood. Law enforcement officials dispute this, pointing to the extremely large number of violent crimes involving the gang members, even in early years.
Along with friends, Washington and Williams gathered with the initial intent of continuing the revolutionary ideology of the 1960s. These aspirations were unattainable because of a general lack of political leadership and guidance. Washington and Williams were never able to develop an agenda for social change within the community and instead became obsessed with protecting themselves from other gangs in the community.
The original name of the gang founded by Raymond Washington in 1969 at the age of 15 was the Baby Avenues, derived from a gang of older boys in the 1960s, named the Avenue Boys with their turf on
In addition to co-founding the gang in 1971, Williams started his own gang called the Westside Crips. The Crips became popular throughout southern Los Angeles as more youth gangs joined it; at one point they outnumbered non-Crip gangs by 3 to 1, sparking disputes with non-Crip gangs including the L.A. Brims, Athens Park Boys, The Bishops and The Denver Lanes. The Crips eventually became the most powerful gang in
In the 1980s, Crips moved into the sale of crack, a form of the drug cocaine. It was developed as a simpler alternative to the process of freebasing, which necessitates the use of controlled and dangerous chemicals such as ether. Inexpensive and highly-addictive crack could be marketed by the Crips to lower-income brackets.
The Crips made enormous profits from selling crack and gathered the capital to advance themselves in the illicit markets. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the Crips developed intricate networks and a respected reputation with other gangs across
To stem violence between the Crips and Bloods, a peace treaty was recently negotiated, most notably in
In 1971 another Crip set on
For many years, Crips were characterized by their tendency to wear blue in order to easily identify each other. One suggested origin of the selected color is traced to the school colors of Washington High School in South L.A. Another theory is the co-founder, Stanley "Tookie" Williams, had a good and close friend called "Buddha", who wore blue shirts, khakis, shoes, and a blue bandana from his back left pocket. When Buddha died, Williams made blue the Crip color in honor of Buddha. A particular set of Crips, the Grape Street Crips, have been known to wear purple in addition to blue. The SGC's, (Shotgun Crips), are separated into three sub-sets: the Nine, 139th street; the Foe, 134th street; and the Deuce, 132nd street in the city of Gardena, California and have been known to wear dark-green, the city color of Gardena, in addition to blue to show that the Shotgun Crips are from Gardena.
In more recent years, however, the Crips have begun to cease the use of colors as a means of identification, since it is likely to draw attention from police. Methods such as the use of college sport team jerseys and hats are sometimes used, but in general, what set a certain gang member claims can be determined solely by their tattoos.
Many Crips will also change words containing the letter B or choose another word to replace it, the best being a word with a C. This is due to their hatred of Bloods. If no word can reasonably be substituted, the letter B will be crossed out to show disrespect. Sometimes excesive use of the letter C also occurs, such as "be right baCC" with B's lower-case and crossed out and the C's in capital letters. Also the letter B can be written Bk as in "Blood Killer".
Crips refer to each other as "Cuzz" and use the letter C to replace the letter B in their conversations and writings. They have an intricate communication system which involves not only graffiti on walls which mark their particular territorial boundaries, but also the use of hand signals (flashing), displaying their colors, and wearing selected athletic clothing. The initials BK represent their status as "Blood Killers."
Crips seldom wear tattoos, and their graffiti represents past or future gang activity.Crips gangs are found in nearly every city in the United States and have been identified in several foreign countries.The most prominent traits of Crips are individualism and maintaining a commitment to foster violence upon other gangs. The Crips rivalry with the Bloods gang presents a likelihood of violent encounters between members.
Should the Crips ever become more structured, they could present even more serious problems than created by other recognized gangs in prison. For a short time, a small group of gang members claimed the word Crip was an acronym for "Community Revolution In Progress." This was an attempt to gain public sympathy as they mimicked the many other gangs who attempted to make similar false claims. Despite their temporary claim of being a peaceful organization, the gang is still heavily involved in urban warfare, drug sales and recently violent take-over robberies and warehouse burglaries.
There have been many different explanations for the origin of the name of the gang:
- The most well-known theories tie the current name with "crib" or "crib street" (alluding to an actual street or the young age of the members at the time of the gang's founding).
- "Crip" originates from the carrying of a cane or stick —
Times 14 April 1992: "Word spread about the tough-looking young men, who some said carried canes and walked with a limp — cripples, or crips, they were called for short." Los Angeles
- Mis-pronunciation of "The Crypts."
- Some alleged backronyms for the name include:
· Community (or
· Community Resources for an Independent People
· California Rebels In Power
- "Crip" meaning cradle to the grave. C standing for Cradle, RIP standing Rest In Peace, a common phrase inscribed on tombstones.
- Snoop Dogg (Rollin' 20 Crips)
- Daz Dillinger (21st Street Crips) 
- Dresta (Nutty Blocc Compton Crips) 
- Eazy-E (Kelly Park Compton Crips) 
- Jayo Felony (NHC 47 Blocc Crips) 
- MC Eiht (Tragnew Park Compton Crips) 
- Tone Lōc (South Side Compton Crips)
- Ice T (Rollin' 30 Crips)
Many popular rappers, in particular West Coast rappers, have close ties to Crips gangs in
It is said that the popular hip-hop dance, the C-walk (Crip-walk), is meant to spell out one's set as an insult to rival gangs. On WC's song "The Streets" from his Ghetto Heisman album, he and Snoop Dogg rap about the C-walk's popularity in the mainstream, warning suburban teenagers and other non-gang members that it is a dance for Crips only.