The gangs of the Springs
Published: Monday, February 28, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 10:03
Gang violence has been a prevalent part of popular culture since the advent of gangsta rap in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Tupac, Snoop Dog, Ice-T, N.W.A. and countless others began rapping about violence and dislike for authority, especially the police, in places like Compton.
When most people think of gangs, cities like Compton and Oakland usually come to mind. What many people don't realize, however, is that there are multiple gangs right here in Colorado Springs.
A gang is defined as, "A group of individuals, juvenile and or adult, who associate on a continuous basis, form allegiance for a common purpose, and are involved in delinquent or criminal activity," according to the Colorado Springs Police Department.
That includes the gangs that people commonly know, like the Bloods, the Crips and the Latin Kings. A gang, though, could be as insignificant as two or more people conspiring to commit crimes continuously. That means that if, say, two roommates in a dorm room are working together and selling marijuana out of their room that could be considered gang activity.
A general conception of gangs is that they are just hoodlum kids trying to make trouble. In fact, only about 20 percent of gang members are juveniles. Most gangs are not simply trying to cause trouble; they actually tend to be more like businesses, these days. Most gangs make their money through drug and prostitution rings.
Members are encouraged to get college degrees in order to be able to provide funding for the group. Sometimes it is hard to pick gang members out of a crowd because they have started dressing like average people in order to blend in.
In the Springs, the most prevalent gangs are the Crips, Gangster Disciples, Surenos, Sin City Disciples and Sons of Silence. Here are some things to look out for if you want to avoid these gangs.
The Crips are an extremely violent gang that originated in Los Angeles in the late 1960s. They have migrated throughout the United States to become the second-largest street gang in the U.S., and the largest street gang in Colorado Springs. Their main revenue comes from drug sales, including cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana. Members usually wear blue, especially blue bandannas; they are symbolized by the six-pointed star and may have tattoos of such. They wear British Knights (BK for Blood Killas) shoes and they call each other "Cuzz."
The Gangster Disciples are comprised primarily of African-Americans and originated in Chicago in the late 1960s. It is the largest street gang in America and the second-largest street gang in Colorado Springs. They are allied with the Crips, Latin Disciples and Simon City Royals. Their revenue comes from drug sales, robbery, burglary, gun sales, prostitution and protection. They are also identified by the six-pointed star. They wear North Carolina blue and black and dress to the right. This means they may hike up their right pants legs or cock their hats to the right.
The Surenos are the largest Hispanic street gang in Colorado Springs. They align with the Mexican Mafia and are extremely violent and territorial. They are comprised of Mexican-American and Hispanic members. Their revenue comes from the gun and drug trade. Members are very tattooed. They are identified by the number "13" and "Sureno," and they wear the color black.
The Sin City Disciples are a new motorcycle gang that just moved into the area from Indiana. Though they just moved in, they are already about 125 members deep. Their revenue comes from drug sales. They can be identified by their black and gold colors. They are in cahoots with the Crips, even allowing them to hang out at their club house. This is a strange alliance, since most members of the Disciples are middle-aged, while the Crips tend to be younger.
The Sons of Silence are a motorcycle gang that originated in Niwot, Colo. in the late 1960s. They have chapters in 10 states, with their headquarters in Denver. Their membership is at about 200 to 300 members. They can be identified by their leather jackets with "Sons of Silence" embroidered on the back. They can be seen riding their hogs just about anywhere throughout the Springs.
These gangs, along with several others are spread all over the city. Be vigilant when you are out, especially if you are drinking. Look for gang identifiers, and steer clear of those people if you are able to identify them as members of a gang.
Even though there is plenty of gang activity around town, it fortunately has not affected UCCS. According to Chief of Police Jim Spice, the most gang activity he has seen on campus is a few gang symbols spray painted on our stop signs.