Gang Awareness Guide
As gangs become an increasing issue in our society, education is the key to
recognizing their activity and understanding what they are about. However,
when discussing gangs, a working de nition must be developed. Gangs are
three or more individuals, using the same name, sign or symbol who commit
criminal acts individually or as a group to further their agenda.
The following information is not exhaustive in describing gangs and their background, but is a basic
framework to educate concerned community members.
Sureños (Spanish for “Southerners”) are a group of Mexican-American street gangs with
origins in southern California (south of Bakers eld). The gang has allegiance to the CA
prison gang, Mexican Ma a, aka “La Eme”. Sureños identify with “13”, “XIII”, “X3”, the letter
“M” - 13th letter in the alphabet - as homage to the Mexican Ma a. They typically use the
color blue but may use other colors as well such as black or brown, dependant on the set.
The “cholo” type of dress was adopted but nowadays is far less observed as anonymity of
gang af liation has become more commonplace. Their biggest rivals are Norteños but it is
not uncommon for Sureños sets to ght each other.
Gang Awareness Guide P. 1
This street gang originally started in South Central Los Angeles in the 1960’s. Stanley “Tookie”
Williams met with Raymond Lee Washington to unite local gang members to battle neighboring
street gangs. Today, the Crips are one of the largest and most violent gangs, involved in murders,
robberies, drug dealing and many other criminal pursuits. Crips identify with the color blue.
Their biggest rivals are the Bloods and disrespect in many ways - calling them “slobs”. Crips call
themselves “Blood Killas” and cross the letter “b” out or leave it off altogether. Crips do not use
the letters “ck” as it denotes “Crip Killer” and substitute it for “cc” (as in “kicc” for “kick”). While
traditionally African-American, today’s Crip membership are multi-ethnic.
The Bloods were formed to compete against the Crips. Their origins stem from a Piru
street gang (initially a Crip set) who broke away during an internal gang war and allied
with other smaller street gangs to form the present day Bloods. Since the Bloods were
originally outnumbered 3 to 1 by the Crips, they had to be more violent. With the rise
of crack cocaine, the Bloods focused on drug dealing to make money which resulted
in even more bloodshed. As their name suggests, Bloods identify with the color red
and consider themselves “Crip Killas”. Bloods disrespect Crips by crossing out the
letter “c” and calling Crip members “Crabs”.
Norteños (Spanish for “Northerner”) are a group of Latino street gangs with origins in northern California (north
of Bakers eld). Members were initially part of the CA prison gang, Mexican Ma a, but later
formed their own group when they were not protected or treated fairly in prison. Separation
can be attributed to a “shoe incident” which created Nuestra Familia (Our Family). Outside
of prison members are called Norteños who associate with the sombrero, the machete and
the “Huelga” bird (symbol of the United Farm Workers). They use the color red and the
number “14”, “XIV”, “X4” and the letter “N” - 14th letter of the alphabet. Their biggest rival
are the Sureños but they also ght against Crip sets.
Bremerton Police Department
Gang Awareness Guide P. 2
For emergencies, call 911
The Folk Nation is a Chicago based alliance of many gangs which spread throughout the US
and Canada. Each set has its own unique colors, hand signs and organizations but have
signed a charter to join together. The Folk Nation began in 1978 within the Illinois Department
of Corrections. Generally, gangs within the Folk Nation use the six-point star, wear identi ers
on the right side (hats, bandanas, etc) and embody the pitch fork. Folk nation rivals the
People Nation. Gang sets include Black Gangsters Disciple and Gangster Disciples.
Folk Nation:
The Mara Salvatrucha (MS) are a transnational street gang that originated in Los Angeles and are widely
spread throughout the US, Canada, Mexico and Central America. In the 1980s, Salvadorian immigrants
banded together to protect themselves from already established gangs in the Pico-Union neighborhoods.
They later aligned with the Mexican Ma a who protected MS members in prison and
adopted the “13” as a tribute. MS associates with “MS”, “MS13” and “Mara”. MS
typically represents themselves with blue and white (El Salvadorian ag colors) but
also includes other colors depending on the sub-set or faction. While aligned with
Sureños, MS13 sets do have con icts with Sureños but more often ght with Norteños.
Mara Salvatrucha (MS13):
Newest to the world of street gangs, the Insane Clown Posse (ICP) originated as fans of the Detroit born
horrorcore band the Insane Clown Posse (Psychopathic Records Label). Band members,
Violent J (Joseph Bruce) and Shaggy 2 Dope (Joseph Utsler), attest they do not promote
the gang persona. In a live performance, Bruce addressed the audience as “Juggalos”
which stuck as a name for male members. Females are called “Juggaletts”. ICP is known
for their outlandish clown make-up and associate with the “Hatchet man” symbol. ICP
members do not believe they are a gang but rather a “family” which is ideal to attract
migratory and homeless youth. They favor the colors red, orange and black. Crimes
include robberies and assaults where members are armed with edged weapons.
Insane Clown Posse:
The People Nation is another Chicago based alliance of many street gangs which
have spread throughout the US and Canada. Similar to the Folk Nation, the People
Nation formed in 1978 when the gangs El Rukns, Vice Lords and Latin Kings
banded together. Gangs within the People Nation wear identi ers to the left side
(gang signs, hats, left pant leg rolled up, folded arms with the left on top). People
Nation uses a ve pointed star, a 3D pyramid, 5-pointed crown, a crescent moon
and playboy bunny symbol. They use an upside down pitch fork as disrespect for
Folk Nation gangs with whom they are rivals.
People Nation:
Asian Gangs:
Contrary to popular belief, Asian street gangs are not usually synonymous with the organized crime syndicates
such as the “Yakuza”. However the smaller street gangs often work for and with the syndicates. During
the 1980’s, Asians in Los Angeles and San Francisco banded together for protection from the larger Black
and Hispanic street gangs. In modern times, Asian gangs often align with Blood
or Crip sets depending on mutual enemies or criminal activities but many remain
independent due to the member’s ethnic rigidity. Group colors and symbols vary
and are not uniform or traditional. Many new Asian gangs begin as dance troupes
or road racing groups that eventually morph into criminal street gangs.
(360) 473-5231
1025 Burwell Street
Community Resource Unit
Bremerton Police Department
Bremerton, WA 98337