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A.V.M. Gang Awareness Night 4/16/07


Learning Goals 1
Learning Goals 2
People Vs. Folk
Style vs. Identifiers
Culture of Dominance
MS 13
Neo Nazi/Sharps
Gangster Diciples
Latin Kings
Vice Lords
Gangster two-six
Support and Counseling
Support Numbers
Bolingbrook/Romeoville Community Programs
Contact Us
works cited/ thank yous
On this page we will offer a reference of gang related characteristics/identifiers.

Most gangs utilize a set of colors that are used to represent their group and act as a cultural norm. These colors are used to send a message to others of who they are, what they represent, and their affiliation or conflicts with others in the gang community. Many gangs have abolished colors to remain under the radar of the community or police. Prison gangs rely on tattoos to represent their affiliation.

Graffiti also long been seen as a gang activity and is most related to the fact that many gangs have particular areas that they try to control. As above, the graffiti is often very symbolic and may contain more information, such as what activities the gang participates in and with whom they are at war. However, while gangs may bring graffiti, it is not the result or an indicator of significant gang activity.

Most often, gangs spray graffiti to mark territory or send a threat to a rival gang. When at war with another gang, they may visit locations the rival gang has already made their mark upon upon, crossing out the names of enemies they have killed, or simply covering up the rival graffiti.

With this being said, most graffiti is non gang related and is purely street art. Gangland "tagging," however, was recently popularized in the 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as a sort of side quest that the player can do to unlock special weapons.


"Throwing up" a gang sign (or "Stacking") with the hands is one of the most known and obvious forms of "claiming." It is used in many situations where other identifiers may not be possible or appropriate, and can also show that a gang member is in the area to "do business" as opposed to just passing through. Usually these signs are made by formation of the fingers on one or both hands to make some sort of symbol or letter.[2] It can also serve to relay more specific information, such as what set they represent within a larger gang or in which activities they are currently taking part. Individual letters can be used to tell stories when flashed in rapid succession, each representing a word beginning with that letter. These signs, because they are displayed only when wanted (as opposed to the types of identifiers above) are usually the most consistent across various areas. Many of these hand signals are quite close to other common hand signs, and this can cause confusion amongst gang members, non-gang members, and anti-gang authorities. Stacking is also known as a walk.

Another identifier that can be displayed only when desired is a gang handshake, which usually includes some component of the gang hand signs and/or other symbols.

Another form of stacking is a "skip boogie" called c-walking. This was made famous by the Los Angeles Crips. In this skip dance members spell out gangs and cross out their names with movements to describe their dominance over rival groups. Other groups have developed their own versions of this ritual(bloods b-walk).