The number of gangs and gang members has dramatically increased throughout Will County over the past decade. A gang can be any organized group of people with a recognized leader that remains together with a common cause during times of peace and times of conflict and shows unity in obvious ways.
Disclaimer: Gangs, as with any criminal element, can change in order to not be too predictable. All of the following information is general and as current as possible.
What distinguishes a gang from other groups is that a gang’s activities are either criminal or threatening to the general public. A gang member can be identified if they fit the following criteria:
Category I Type Identifiers - Each of the following identifiers establishes criminal gang membership in and of itself.
Self Admission - The individual admits his membership to a specific street gang.
Tattoos - A person displays tattoo(s) of a particular street gang on their body.
Other Law Enforcement Agencies - Information received from other law enforcement agencies on gang membership, but depending on the agency’s criteria for establishing gang membership, other identifiers may be required.
Clothing - The person is observed wearing clothing commonly associated with a specific gang or clothing that displays gang symbols and/or slogans.
Jewelry - An individual is observed wearing/displaying jewelry that represents association with a gang.
Signs - A person is observed displaying gang signs by hand or gesture that represents association with a particular gang, or they are seen displaying hand signs or gestures showing disrespect toward a rival gang.
Associations (Individuals/Locations) - The individual is repeatedly observed in known gang areas (called “turf”) and/or with other known identified gang members.
Informants - Someone has been identified as a gang member by a reliable informant.
Gang Memorabilia - The person is in a photograph or listed in documents that indicate gang association, i.e., gang roll call or home boy lists.
Parents do not realize that children will turn elsewhere to get the love and attention they seek if it is not given in the home. Give your children the attention, praise, and encouragement they desire and deserve. Gang prevention begins in the home with family. Some characteristics that attract young people to gangs include:
Unity - The gang unites and becomes one. Everything that is done is done in the name of the gang and for the gang. The gang becomes each members’ family and religion.
Identity - The individual member loses his identity and becomes one with the gang. He identifies with the gang by wearing colors, tattoos, or brands of the symbol of the gang. His friends are fellow gang members because he trusts no one else.
Loyalty - The gang is first and foremost in his life, he will do anything to protect the gang integrity and fellow members.
Reward - The rewards are acceptance, love, identity, status, money, and the feeling of being an important part of a family.
Violations - The gang imposes a strict set of rules and regulations to which gang members are required to adhere. Punishments include monetary fines, beatings, banishment from the gang, and sometimes even death. Violation is also a term used to denote a members acceptance to and exit from the gang. Violation into the gang may consist of a beating from several gang members, or commission of a particular type of crime. Violation out of the gang, or “V’d out” normally consists of a severe beating by gang members.
Graffiti - One of the first indications that gangs are being formed within an area is the appearance of graffiti. To many members of the public, graffiti represents thoughtless vandalism or childish pranks, but to the gang members, graffiti is a clear mark of territorial boundaries and serves as a warning and challenge to rival gangs.
Hand Signals - Hand signals are used by gangs as a means of communicating gang affiliation and/or as a challenge to rival gang members, called “throwing signs.” These signals or signs are made by forming letters or numbers with the hands and fingers, depicting the gang symbol or initials. By using these signals, the gang member can show to which gang he belongs and issue challenges to other gangs in the vicinity.
Tattoos - Tattoos may be viewed as an extension of gang graffiti, used to identify the wearer as a member of a particular gang. As in the case of graffiti, the tattoo will usually include the name, initials, or symbols of the gang, and in some instances, could include the faction or area to which the gang member belongs.
Street gangs can be divided into the following 4 main components:
Leaders - Leaders direct the nature and pattern of gang members, and he recruits his style into the command structure. They are usually between 20 and 28 years of age.
Hard Core - These types of members participate in the gang as a lifestyle, and they also have the ability to orchestrate criminal activity.
Shortys - Shortys do most of the gang’s dirty work, such as running guns and drugs, vehicular theft, burglary, and they are also the ones that write the graffiti. They do these crimes as initiation to the gang and to show loyalty to raise their status. The shortys are also used in more violent crimes such as drive by shootings and shooting of rival gang members and are used due to their age. If arrested, the leaders of gangs know that the shortys do not get punished as severely in juvenile court.
Marginals - These people are not usually initiated gang members, but they may be friends with people who have been initiated into a particular gang. Marginals may also participate in criminal activity.
In Will County there are two different Gang Nations, the People and the Folks. In these two nations are many different factions that affiliate with the nations.
Use the slogan “All is well.”
ALWAYS represents to the LEFT, i.e., hat worn or tilted to the left, arms folded to the left, pant leg folded on the left leg, hand inside the left pocket, earring worn in left ear, etc.
Their symbols include 5 pointed stars and crowns as well as moons.
FACTIONS OF THE PEOPLE NATION may include:
Black P Stone Nation - Their colors are red and black, and their symbol are a crescent moon and a pyramid. Many times they will wear Chicago Bulls clothing.
Latin Kings - Their colors are yellow and black, and their symbol is a 5 pointed star or crown. Members will wear Chicago Bulls or LA Kings apparel.
Vice Lords - Their colors are red and black, and their symbols are a 5 pointed star or the playboy bunny. Members wear Chicago Bulls clothing.
Conservative Vice Lord Nation - Their colors are red and black, and their symbols include a 5 pointed star and the playboy bunny. They also wear Chicago Bulls apparel.
Other People factions include Bishops, Cobra Stones, Cullerton Dueces, El Rukn, Freaks, Gaylords, Insane Popes, Insane Unknowns, Jousters, Kenmore Boys, Kents, King Cobras, Latin Brothers, Latin Counts, Latin Dragons, Latin Pachucos, Latin Saints, Noble Knights, Party Gents, Party Players, Puerto Rican Stones, Spanish Lords, 12th Street Players, Villa Lobos, and Warlords.
Use the slogan “All is One.”
ALWAYS represent to the RIGHT, i.e., hat worn or tilted to the right, arms folded to the right, pant leg folded on the right leg, hand inside the right pocket, earring worn in the right ear, etc.
Their symbols include 6 pointed stars and crowns as well as devils.
FACTIONS OF THE FOLK NATION may include:
Gangster Disciples - Their colors are blue and black, and their symbols include a 6 pointed star or pitchfork. Members wear LA Raiders and Detroit Tigers apparel and anything with the script letter “D.”
Satan Disciples - Their colors are black and canary yellow, and their symbol is the devil with a pitchfork. Members wear Detroit Tigers clothing and anything with the script letter “D.”
Orchestra Albany - Their colors are gold and brown, and their symbol is the letter “O” over the letter “A.” They wear Oakland A’s and California Angels apparel.
Latin Lovers - Their colors are red and yellow, and their symbol is a double “L” inside a heart. Members wear Kansas City Chiefs apparel and Chicago Bulls clothing (minus the “BU” in Bulls.).
Brothers of the Struggle: Black Gangster Disciples - Their colors are black and blue, and their symbol is the 6 pointed star and pitchfork. They wear LA Raiders apparel.
Maniac Latin Disciples - Their colors are blue and black, and their symbols are a 6 pointed star, pitchfork, a heart, and a playboy bunny. They wear LA Raiders and Detroit Tigers apparel and anything with the script letter “D.”
Other Folk Nation factions include Ambrose, Black Disciples, Black Gangsters, Black Souls, Campbell Boys, Harrison Gents, Imperial Gangster, Insane Dueces, Latin Disciples, Latin Dragons, Latin Eagles, Latin Jivers, Latin Souls, La Raza (the race), Milwaukee Kings, Morgan Boys, Party People, Simon City Royals, Spanish Cobras, Spanish Gangster Disciples, 2-6 Boys, and 2-2 Boys.