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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Crips, originating in Los Angeles, California, are one of the oldest, largest, 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 United States. The gang is primarily composed of African Americans. The gang has an intense rivalry with the Bloods. They are also known to feud with Chicano gangs.
History of the Crips
The Crips were founded in Los Angeles, California in 1969 by 15 year old Raymond Washington. Washington initially called the gang the Baby Avenues in an attempt to emulate older gangs and activities carried out by the Black Panthers which he was fascinated with. This evolved to Avenue Cribs and then Cribs as nicknames for the age of the members. The name Crips was first introduced in the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper in a description by crime victims of young men with canes, as if they were crippled (though there is some discussion that it may have initially been a simple spelling mistake). The name stuck.
Stanley Tookie Williams, generally acknowledged as co-founder of the Crips, 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 California. In response, all of the other besieged gangs, including the Pirus, formed an alliance that later became the Bloods.
Along with friends, Williams and Washington created 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.
By 1971 the gang's notoriety had spread across Los Angeles. The gang became increasingly violent as they attempted to expand their turf. By the early 80s the gang was heavily involved with drug trade.
The Great Divide, Crip On Crip Violence
In 1971 a Crip set on Piru Street, Compton, known as the Piru Street Boys was formed. After two years of peace, a feud began between the Piru Street Boys and the other Crip sets that would later turn violent when members of the Piru Street Boys were getting killed by their own allies. This battle continued until the mid 1970s when the Piru Street Boy wanted to call an end to the violence, and called a meeting with other gangs that were targeted by the Crips. After a long discussion, the "Pirus" broke off all connections to the Crips and started an organzation that was later to called the "Bloods", a streetgang infamous for its rivalry with the Crips.
Since then, other 'beefs' and feuds were started between many of the remaining sets of the Crip gang. It is a popular misconception that Crip sets feud solely with Bloods. In reality, they also fight other Crip sets — for example, the Rollin' 60s and 83rd Street Gangster Crips ("Eight-Tray") have been rivals since 1979, and their rivalry is currently the largest in L.A. In Watts LA, the Grape Street Crips and the PJ Crips have feuded so much that the PJ Crips even teamed up with local Bloods set the Bounty Hunter Bloods to fight against the Grape Street Crips. A clique (a smaller group within a set) within the PJ Crips is even called 'Tha GK (Grape Killa) Boys'. The Hoover Crips developed huge rivalries with many Crip gangs in Los Angeles. Because of this they've decided to stop being Crips and changed their name to the Hoover Criminal Gang.
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 America and neighboring countries.
To stem violence between the Crips and Bloods, a peace treaty was recently negotiated, most notably in Watts, the treaty being largely based upon the ideals laid forth by original Crip co-founder Stanley Tookie Williams in his "Tookie Protocol For Peace". Though violence levels have been reduced somewhat after the conclusion of this peace treaty, gangland killings and warfare persist in heavily gang-controlled areas.
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 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. Crips also wear blue bandanas and British Knights sport shoes (using the company moniker BK, which the Crips use as a backronym meaning "Blood Killas"). They usually refer derisively to their rivals, the Bloods, as "slobs" and "busters."
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 excessive use of the letter C also occurs, such as "be right baCC" to refrain from using the initials "ck" which stands for "Crip Killer". Also the letter B can be written Bk as in "Blood Killer".
Origin of the name "Crips"
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 — Los Angeles 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."
- Mis-pronunciation of "The Crypts."
- Some alleged backronyms for the name include:
- Community (or California) Revolution/Restoration In Progress.
- 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.
Entertainers with Crip affiliations
- Snoop Dogg (Rollin' 20 Crips)
- WC (111 Neighborhood Crips)
- Daz Dillinger (Rollin 60 Neighborhood 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 Loc (South Side Compton Crips)
- Spider Loc (97th Street East Coast Crips)
- B.G. Knocc Out (Nutty Blocc Compton Crips)
- Young Jeezy (WSGC 124 Crips in Macon, Georgia)
Crips, hip-hop, and C-walk
Many popular rappers, in particular West Coast rappers, have close ties to Crips gangs in L.A. County. Snoop Dogg is a former member of the Rollin' 20 Crips in Long Beach (as are Warren G, Nate Dogg, and Goldie Loc), while WC has an affiliation with the 111 Neighborhood Crips in South Central Los Angeles. The late N.W.A member Eazy-E reportedly had ties to the Kelly Park Compton Crips. Recently signed G-Unit rapper Spider Loc is a member of the 97th Street East Coast Crips. 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, telling suburban teenagers and other non-gang members that it is a dance for Crips only. Another song with a similar instance is "Not a Dance", by Spider Loc, Young Buck and C-BO.
In Michael Jackson's Extended Music Video The Way You Make Me Feel Michael Jackson was posing as wannabe gang member, before being told to be himself, hence the blue shirt in the video. The Crip Walk was also being peformed at the start of the video.
- ^ a b http://www.gripe4rkids.org/crips.html
- ^ http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/12/13/williams.execution/
- ^ Daz Dillinger biography. IMDb. Retrieved on 2006-07-09.
- ^ Terror, Hope on the Streets of Compton. National Public Radio (2006-03-06). Retrieved on 2006-07-09.
- Leon Bing (1991). Do or Die: America's Most Notorious Gangs Speak for Themselves. Sagebrush. ISBN 0-8335-8499-5
- Stanley Tookie Williams (2005). Blue Rage, Black Redemption: A Memoir (PB) ISBN 0-9753584-0-5
- Colton Simpson, Ann Pearlman, Ice T (Foreword) (2005). Inside the Crips : Life Inside L.A.'s Most Notorious Gang (HB) ISBN 0-312-32929-6
- Shakur, Sanyika (1993). Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member, Atlantic Monthly Pr, ISBN 0-87113-535-3
- Yusuf Jah, Sister Shah'keyah, Ice T, UPRISING : Crips and Bloods Tell the Story of America's Youth In The Crossfire, ISBN 0-684-80460-3
- Snopes Urban Legend – The origin of the name Crips
- L.A.-based gangs – An overview of LA-based gangs
- Gang Reduction through Intervention, Prevention and Education – Crips profile
- Crips and Blood Alphabet – Crips and Bloods Alphabet
- Los Angeles Gang History – A comprehensive examination into Los Angeles gang history
- Black Street Gangs in Los Angeles: A History – Excerpts from Territoriality Among African American Street Gangs in Los Angeles