The history of the blood gang is significant because the Crips, which started to develop in numbers, emerged in the early 1970s with the sole purpose of engaging the dominant gang in Los Angeles. African American youths from the impoverished neighbourhoods of Los Angeles, California became the bulk of the gang. Several gangs are joining forces to tackle the rising Crip threat during this time of war. The uprising against the Crips was led by a top member of the Piru party, called the Piru Street Boys. In forming the Bloods gang in 1972, this was instrumental.
Purpose of the Gang
Between 1982 and 1984, the violence between the two parties got very heated. The conflict came about because one gang took the revival gangs drug corners to sell their drugs. In the 80s, cocaine was a huge moneymaker for the gangs. Rock cocaine was cheaper and much more addictive than the powder that came from the drug. Gang territories became increasing important to the gang members.
Structure of the Gang
Blood members moved to several large cities throughout the West Coast to expand the ever-growing drug market. Many Blood gang members abandoned wearing obvious identifiers of gang affiliation was the color of red. Using red bandanna rags, the Bloods street gangs have often worn red colours; similar graffiti and design designs, emphasising disdain towards symbols of Crips and Crips. A modern development seems to have emerged lately. Bloods were claimed to have been found to have blue, tan, and rust or burnt orange shades representing “dried” blood in some eastern states. The color pink, also worn as a variation of the color red, which became depicted in the movie “Colors.” The tactic considered a ruse to minimize attention from law enforcement so they could continue illegal activity with little fear of apprehension. This strain of gang membership was on the rise and out of control for law officers. An increasing number of sub-groups appeared. They continued to move into several large cities in many states around the country.
Gangs very organized, functioning under a designated hierarchy, which may resemble the internal structure of a corporation. Klein stated in 1971, regarding the internal elements of a gang, which included living as a social group, using symbols, engaging in verbal and nonverbal communications to declare their gang has certain identifying factors. A sense of permanence gives gang members a way to identify their territory or turf (Klein, 2-6). The theorist, Maxson in 1998 emphasizes that not only are adjectives often necessary to make sense of gangs, as in drug gangs and street gangs, but gangs also exhibit a remarkably fluid social structure (Maxson p. 2). Moreover, term examples like “wannabes,” “core”, “fringe,” “hardcore,” is some of the slang, which reflects the changing levels of involvement, including the boundaries of gang membership that may be penetrated (Maxson, 2).
Gang structures looks just like an organization flowchart. This flow chart may look like the Mattel Corporation:
- The Gangs that have high organizational abilities, and function under a designated hierarchy; this type gang may look like any highly organized corporation.
- Leadership may not be apparent to everyone. Depending on the size and the structure, leadership could be in a council of different leaders representing each faction that sometimes rules them.
- Many gangs structures have sub groups. Each sub group will have a separate leader and group of officers. They may use the same name, an altered name, or adopt an entirely new name (Criminal street gangs.org).
A familiar quote by Blood members stated “Ash to ash, dust to dust, bloods I trust; Crabs we bust, kill a crab, win a prize; Kill a blood your whole family dies.”
Approaches used to achieve the gang’s aims maybe clearly stated in the structure of the gang that includes what they do and how they operate.
Sociological approaches seem to vary a great deal in the literary world of studies. When we speak of social learning in gangs, it masks the facts of a general observation and gang research. In the United States, studies suffer from definitional shortcomings calling into question its ability to inform policy makers and expand criminological knowledge (Kline, 105,206).
Topics that remain interesting to ponder are the affect of questionable wording and framing of issues that appear to be part of the psychology of judgment and decision-making with the parameters of gang relationships. Topics like rational choice, labeling, critical or Marxist perspective. They subsequently identify two widely used benchmarks for assessing whether a given social group is a gang:
- Youth status, the age qualification 10 and up to 20 or older
- The engagement by group members, or in-law-violating behavior or at a minimum, “imprudent” behavior (Cohen, 191)
Even, the “experts” cannot agree on what constitutes a gang or gang behavior, and many experts find fault with nearly every definition. Many things are necessary to considered when using psychology to discussing the topic that deals with perspective, choice, labeling, and behavior. Failure to employ universal definitions of youth gangs and gang membership begs for the definition for these research questions.
- Underestimating it has numerous implications for gang research and gang-related public policy, for example, the research on the extent and nature of gang problems. What they face shows three possible outcomes (Crime, 106).
- Accurately stating the gang problem with too narrow definition
- If the definition is too broad, overestimate it.
- Capturing individuals, groups, and behavior, this is of little interest to the intended audience.
When is a Gang and Why Does it Matter?
These questions result in somewhat different answers for researchers, theorists.
In addition to scholars and theorists, politicians are also involved. It is necessary for researchers to refine the measurement: to determine the validity and the durability of the measurements used. For theorists, whether researching or building theory, it is best to consider variables associated with gang membership and associated behaviours.
For policy makers, it is important to know the extent and nature of the gang problem to permit development of appropriate policies and programs. Clearly, the primary domains of interest for theorists, researchers, and policy makers are not mutually exclusive and closely intertwined.
Purpose of the Gang
The purpose of the “bloods” is to make money through illegal activities in the selling of every possible illegal drug on the black market. For the teens that join the gang it is for the identity of finding oneself belonging to something. The higher the individual gets in the organization the more love he/she feels. If they belong, they can participate in the earning of an income through the illegal activities.
Differential Opportunity Structures
Social norms are two-sided. To advocate honesty and condemn a specific set of actions that perceived as dishonest is a differential opportunity structure. Crime, Dequincy, and Gangs are also interrelated. Anomie, defined as social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values (dictionary).
Marxist Perspective Social Disorganization
Marx did not write at length about crime, Marx argued that the laws were generally the codified means by which one class, the rulers, kept another class, the rest of us in check.
Marxists recognize that for a society to function efficiently, social order is very necessary. However, apart from communist societies, they consider that in all societies’ one class the ruling class, gains far more than other classes. This is within the totality of gang theorist thinking. Marxists agree with functionalists that socialization plays a critical role in promoting conformity and order.
However, unlike the latter, they may be highly critical of ideas, values, and norms of capitalist societies where they term as capitalist ideology. Modern Marxists point to education and media as socializing agencies, which tend to delude working classes into conforming to a social, order that, in some cases work against the suspected interest (MSN).
Agencies that Gather Ethnic and Racial Typology
Certainly, the FBI is a major player in the agency world of fighting crime and the statistics, have drawn from those studies. The lack of a common description of gangs and the challenge of tracking the existence and scale of gang-related illegal activity are two of the fundamental barriers to combating gang activity in neighbourhoods across the country. That seems to concur with other theorist, sociologist, and psychology, concerning judgment and decision making in gangs. Any neighbourhoods understand difficulty in coping with the issue; once the gangs become deeply ingrained, they refuse to accept that they have a gang issue.
Cultural Deviance Theories
Gangs may look at their social environment as one where the environment has elements of crime associated with it. Theorist sees a social environment of individuals that prove to be a contributing factor to committing crimes. Statistics prove poverty is a major contributor to individuals that commit crime and portray violent behaviors. Most poverty areas have a single parent working minimal jobs and hence strapped to the environment where they live. The strain theory states that the social environment of individuals correlativity proven, as a major factor in committing crimes. Sociological theories presently studied, generally found in the following theory arenas, the strain theory, cultural deviance theory, self-control theory, and rational choice theory.
Society, values the following items, prestige, power, and material possessions. Theory says, when the lower class cannot obtain these goals by legal means, they will develop any means to obtain the goal. Cultural deviance theory develops in disorganized neighborhoods. In these neighborhoods, the deviants considered those individuals with the highest dropout rates, high unemployment rates with high residency turnover. Criminal behavior becomes one of necessity.
Rational choice theory says that deviance may result in the rational calculation of risks versus rewards. Rationale just states that the perpetrator does this of his own free will.
Self-control theory assumes that all people are selfish. This group of people gangs, lack education, proper socialization, and the individual will engage in indulgent behaviors.
Many different therapies currently used to adjust to these theories as cognitive therapy being one of many; the main goal of criminal cognitive restructuring is to prevent future crimes. Cognitive restructuring is an important tool. Many professionals, including criminal justice professionals, currently use this tool (Zarka).
Early 1970’s produced a wide range of theorist is investigate the labeling perspective. Over time, the theory lost some of its original luster. The theory elaborated in sociology what was termed the “underdog.” The audience, being the social context individuals in the community or those individuals that had control over specific neighborhoods, for example police officer and teachers. These identify the people doing the labeling. This theory states that using terms like rule breakers are not like rule breaking behavior, deviants’ different then deviant behavior. The core critiques of the viewpoint of labelling are that its supposed analytical imprecision results in inadequate consistency with respect to key definitions.
Becker states the about deviants “The major criticisms of the labeling perspective are that its alleged theoretical imprecision results in insufficient clarity regarding key concepts.”
Ethnic and Racial Typology
Significant differences lies within the total understanding, of the social meaning of race, and the differences of various ethnicities. Not understanding them leads to social issues, like prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. In United States, over the last decade, people of this country have witnessed firsthand the stigma of slavery, segregation, genocide, and war. The history of this country tells a tale of what makes gangs continue to grow because of the issues of identity, recognition, belonging, discipline, love, and the allure of money. The impoverished community seems to be most at risk and the rewards of gang affiliation grows in violence. Drive by shootings viewed on the news daily in every large city within the borders of the United States of America. Theorists can make theories but the agencies like the FBI, CIA, and other high profile departments have a vested interested in keeping communities safe from crime.
The Group the Bloods Primarily of the African-American Race
In our prison systems, the FBI has a problem with gang activity in every state judicial system. This stems from an idea the gangs stick together in the prison system. Reportedly, the list is Asian, African American, Latino, Prison, Illegal Aliens, Organized, and White Supremacy gangs that reside behind the prison gates and walls across the United States. Because of the wide range of ethnic and racial ignorance, the prisons must deal with death, and bodily harm, of inmates that culture locks away from society for violent crime, guns and drugs.
To conclude current efforts to stem the spread of gang violence in the United States has significant impact and must continue reactionary measures. Latest crime figures suggest a continuing declining trend in the rate of violent crime. Today, unprecedented level of cooperation between federal law enforcement agencies and our state and local partners have authority because of the “Attorney General’s Anti-Violent Crime Initiative.” Law enforcement strategies continue to focus in on a combination of, equally important suppression, intervention and prevention programs, to be successful in dramatically reducing the level of gang violence in America.