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Edged Weapons

Edged Weapons

Gang members on the street and inside prisons acquire edged weapons to use in close-quarter attacks on rival gang members or law enforcement officers. Street gang members typically will use fixed-blade knives, daggers, folding knives, butterfly knives or other utility tools, while inmates fashion their own jail-made shanks and other weapons from boot reinforcements, bed wiring, and other materials. Don't miss POLICE gang expert Rich Valdemar's "Edged Weapons and Gang Culture" blog post.

February 1, 2011

Interpreting Gangster Clothing

Interpreting Gangster Clothing

Have you ever wondered why gang members wear the ridiculous costumes that they do? Why do they wear their pants sagging below their butts exposing their underwear? There's actually a company that stitches boxer-type underwear into the baggy pants to achieve the baggy pants clown look. POLICE gang expert Richard Valdemar explains the information to be learned from gangster clothing. Valdemar provided the images.

February 3, 2010

White Gang Tattoos

White Gang Tattoos

The Aryan Brotherhood, which is also known as "AB" or "The Brand," is a primarily white prison gang with about 15,000 members in and out of prison. According to the FBI, the gang makes up only one percent of the prison population, but is responsible for 18 percent of all murders in the federal corrections system. Members use symbols in their tattoos such as swastikas, SS lightning bolts, the number 666, and Celtic imagery.

August 7, 2009

Prison and Gang Ink Symbols

Prison and Gang Ink Symbols

In addition to advertising gang membership, tattoos provide other details about the bearer.  For the incarcerated, images of chains and locks represent the loss of freedom; an hourglass or clock face without hands indicate doing time; a string of numbers may be an inmate's prison ID; one laughing face, one crying face means play now, pay later or my happy life, my sad life; a tombstone with numbers may indicate years of incarceration; the face of a female crying usually means someone on the outside is waiting for them. Caption information provided by POLICE gang expert Richard Valdemar.

August 7, 2009

Latino Gang Tattoos

Latino Gang Tattoos

Tattoos are an excellent tool for law enforcement and corrections officers to use to identify known or suspected gang members. This gallery includes examples of tattoos worn by predominanly Latino gangs such as the Mexican Mafia, MS-13, and the Latin Kings. The number "13" is used because M (or La Eme) is the thirteenth letter of the alphabet and is used to signify the Mexican Mafia, which uses Sureños—gangs that swear allegiance to the Mexican Mafia—to carry out its orders from prison.

August 5, 2009

Black Gang Tattoos

Black Gang Tattoos

Gang members are usually decorated with the marking of their sets, super-gangs, and affiliated prison gangs. Their bodies are also often marked with tattoos that are generic prison symbols that you will find on just about any inmate. The following slide show is a quick look at some tattoos used by some predominately African-American gangs with origins in California.

June 29, 2009

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