Organized crime or criminal gangs refer to “transnational, national, or local alliances or groupings of highly centralized enterprises that are organized and run by criminals” (Shanty 17). The main purpose of many of these illegal groupings is to make money, while others such as terrorist organizations are motivated by political or ideological inclinations. In some instances, criminal gangs force people to enter into business contracts with them. In some other cases, gangs exhort money from business people in exchange for protection (Abadinsky 231). According to, gangs can and do discipline their members to the extent that they can be considered “organized” The term ‘mob’ can also be used to refer to such organized enterprises. This paper will endeavor to explore one of the criminal gangs, ‘The Crips’ in relation to their criminal activities.
The Crips are mainly African-American gang that came into being in 1969, in Los Angeles, California. Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams were the founders of this gang. Initially, the gang operated as two separate and independent units, but with time, it has disintegrated and become a “loosely network of individual sets that are often in open confrontation with each other” (Shanty 34)
The gang and grown to become one of the most vicious and violent associations of street criminals in the American cities. The Crips are known for their crimes such as killings, armed robberies, and drug cartels among other criminal activities. Nowadays, the groups has an estimated combined membership of 40, 000 and was well known “for its gang members’ use of the color blue in their clothing” (Simpson 11). However, because of police crackdown on illegal groupings, the groups changed this practice.
Currently, it is estimated that there are more than 400 different sets of Crips in the United States. In addition, it is also understood that most Crips related killings result from bloody conflicts between the rival camps (Abadinsky, 204). Many people hypothesize that the internal rivalry within the Crips resulted from the 2004 peace treaty established between the Crips and the Bloods. Moreover, others opine that the rivalry emanates from disputes from drug dealings.
As highlighted above, criminal gangs aim is to make money. In this case, the Crips main source of income is drug trafficking. Money derived from the sale of drugs is used to finance the groups’ criminal activities. In addition, they use the money to support their expensive lifestyle. According to Abadinsky, members of this illegal group also engage in drive-by shooting, theft, prostitution, and bank robberies (175).
Two years after the formation of Crips, another gang on Piru Street in Campton, California, known by the name Piru Street Boy, was established (Mallory 73). The grouped joined links with Crips as a set and the two stayed together in peace for about two years. After this time, a feud started to brew between the Piru Street Boys and other sets of the larger Crips. The feud escalated with time between the two former allies. This battle went on, but in 1973, the Piru Street Boys desired to end the feud. Thus, a meeting was constituted with other rival gangs that were targeted by Crips. After deliberations, the Pirus broke ranks with the Crips and formed their won gang, the Bloods, which is the fiercest rival of Crips (Simpson 23).
Over the years, many feuds have been executed between many of the different sets of the Crips gang. There is a popular misconception that the Crips have confrontations with the Bloods only. However, in reality, they are always fighting each other. For instance, the Rollin’ 60s and the 83rd Street Gangster Crips have been bitter enemies since 1979. According to “the Grape Street Watts Crips and the P Jay Crips have feuded so much that the P Jay Crips even teamed up with the local Bloods set, the Bounty Hunter Bloods, to fight against the Grape Street Crips” (Simpson 67).
Towards the end of 1973, South Central Los Angeles was under the influence of the street gang. The Crips considered themselves as street thugs capable of undertaking any criminal activity within their own neighborhoods. Most of the crimes involved, theft, burglaries, and purse snatches. On the other hand, several anti-Crisps gangs also started mushrooming at the same time as the Crips was expanding. These grouping became a threat to Crips, resulting in numerous confrontations and murders of rivals. Before the 1980s, the Crips and the Bloods did not have much control of the narcotics trade. However, in a space of three years, African-American Los Angeles gangs started getting involved in the sale and distribution of narcotics. Expansion to narcotics intensified rivalry as the business was more lucrative. This saw an increase in killings attributed to ravage and rivalry (Mallory 78).
As explained earlier, it is estimated that there are hundreds of diverse sets of Crips spread out in various parts of the United States. Indeed, most of the criminal activities and murders conducted by Crips are based on rivalry among the different sets. Some people believe that the intense rivalry came because of the 2004 peace treaty between Crips and the Bloods, while others think it has to do with drug dealings.