The Crip Journal

Posted on August 10, 2009


Walking to the corner store to buy some milk on the morning of August 6, I was stopped cold by the following headline:

Unfortunately, what I saw was a page out of the “Daily Gangsta.” Graffiti is the medium through which a gang asserts its dominance and sends messages to other gangs and their own. It’s like a news flash for those who know the code: “We own this street corner.”

I liken it to dogs’ marking their territory. When a dog sniffs at a corner signpost or traffic light and then marks it with urine, it’s getting information about who’s been there and signaling its own presence. Yet another incarnation of the news: the Doggie Daily. Unfortunately, I later discovered that the Crip story was continued on page 2:

According to one local expert, “gang graffiti (or what is called “tagging”) is done by younger gang members at the instruction of older members.  So if a kid is told to go mark up a territory he may get “more kudos” based on the job he/she does.  These taskings to younger gang members get them more involved in the gang. Usually when an area sees a spike in this type of tagging, it means that there is gang “recruiting” going on in the neighborhood.  Unfortunate for all of us.”

Not all graffiti is gang graffiti. Other sources are taggers and tag krews who consider “tagging” an expression of identity and creativity. As a general rule, gang graffiti is minimalist and symbolic. The color of the paint carries a message. Blue is the Crip’s color. Red is for Bloods, also known as Piru. The X through the letter P in the first photo conveys disrespect for the Piru set. A set is a subgroup of a gang. The most infamous subset of the Crips in Lynn is the Avenue King Crips.

For more information on gangs, try the following websites:

Gangs or Us


Posted in: neighborhood, Youth