What ever happened to kids wanting saying they wanted to be a police officer, fireman, doctor or teacher when they grow up? Does anyone ever say, when I grow up I want to be in a gang? According to the National Gang Threat Assessment there are over one million gang members in California and over forty percent are under the age of eighteen. Just in Fresno alone there are over twelve thousand gang members and over 500 gangs (Overend). Gang violence is a growing problem and if we don’t try to control it now it will be a bigger problem in the future.
According to the National Gang History, gangs started out in India in the year 1200 AD when a group of criminals used to roam the town committing burglaries and crimes. (www.gripe4rkids.org/his.html) Gangs are certainly not anything new to anyone, some of the earliest gangsters we know date back to as far as the late 1800s when Al Capone who was better known as Scarface came along. (Savelli) Street gangs date bake to the 1920s and 1930s, Mexican gangs who formed along the west coast of the U.S. started in the early 1940s. (Savelli) In the 1960s African American street gangs formed in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. (Savelli) Crips and Bloods started in the late 1960s. (Savelli)
There are over 500 gangs here in Fresno (Overend) that are well known to many of us, like 18th Street, Asian Boyz, Black P. Stone Nation, Bloods, Crips, Florencia 13, Bulldogs, Mara Salvatrucha, Nortenos and Surenos. (“Appendix B. Street Gangs”) There are also some that are around that are not well known like BTL (Burrel Town Loks), Playboy Surenos, Los cyclones, Sixth Street and VTL along with many others. There were approximately 750,000 gang members in the United States in the year 2000 but that number has rapidly increased to over one million in the year 2009. (Gang Statistics) There are over twelve thousand gang members here in Fresno. (Overend) “Out of the one million gang members about 400,000 are teens, 90%-94% are male.” (Gang Statistics) When conducting a survey on gang violence I asked fifty people, “What are the top five gangs here in Fresno?” and the top five were Bulldogs, Surenos, Crips, Bloods, and Asian Boyz.
The most known gang in Fresno are the Bulldogs. (Rosas) They represent themselves not so much by color but by the Fresno State Bulldog symbol. The Bulldog gang is the biggest gang here in Fresno with over 4,000 members. (Gang Statistics) Most Bulldog gang members usually have dog paws tattooed or many will get the whole dog face tatted on them. Bulldogs do not have any specific number or color to represent them, but Fresno State apparel is usually red, blue, black, or white.
Surenos are another popular gang in Fresno, most surenos are Mexican, Hispanic, or Latino. Their color to wear or represent is blue, therefore they will carry a blue rag with them most of the time. Tatoos they usually have are “south side”, the number 13, three dots (each dot stand for one word in “mi vida loca”),...