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Blue Alpha

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PostSubject: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:06 pm

Hey, I found this online. My understanding of graffiti is limited, but what I know matches stuff here, so I'm showing it to you guys.

Where graffiti is concerned, the writing truly is “on the wall”. It’s an annoyance, to be sure, but it’s also somewhat interesting - at least the gang-related graffiti, anyway. In many ways, gang graffiti is a code - and like most codes, it’s susceptible to analysis.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Here in the U.S., at least, the first thing one should do when finding graffiti is to look at the letters, if any, and the overall design. If it has “bubble letters”, more than one color of paint or ink, or shows even a hint of artistry, it’s almost certainly not gang related. If it has sharp, angular stick letters, or contains religious (including “satanic”) imagery, or is done in one color of paint, it’s probably gang related.
A lot of times, the graffiti will be very simple, and flat-out say, for example, “West Side Bloods”. That, obviously, is easy to figure out. But what if you see just a series of letters or numbers that don’t seem to make any immediate sense? That’s the fun part, which requires some rudimentary code-breaking skills.
First of all, look for numbers. If you see two digits - especially “13″, “14″, or “18″, you’re probably looking at graffiti for a hispanic gang. If you see three digits - especially if they’re your, or a nearby, area code - it’s almost certainly not a hispanic gang, but your typical prison/street sort. There’s an easy exception to remember: If the numbers are followed by “K”, you’re looking at a threat from a rival gang. “WS18″ is a tag for the (hispanic) West Side 18th Street gang out of California; “WS18K” is a threat towards 18th Street by a local gang. (”K” is short for “Kill”.) If there are two digits, see if they’re prefixed by “N”, “S”, “E”, or “W” - (or “NS”, “SS”, “ES”, or “WS”) - which relate to the cardinal directions, and form part of the gang’s identity. Here in the Twin Cities, for example, you see a lot of “S13″ tags - they’re promoting “South 13″, or more properly, “Surenos Trece”. You’ll see 13 and 14 a lot in graffiti for hispanic gangs - the 13th letter of the alphabet is “M”, which generally stands for “Mexico” (but sometimes “La Eme”, the Mexican Mafia); the 14th letter is of course “N”, which generally means “North”, or “Norteno”. “Norteno” has nothing much to do with the US-Mexico border; it instead means which end of California the gang originated from. Much like the divide between east-coast and west-coast rappers, gangstas from the north and south parts of California frequently “got beef” with each other.
But what if there aren’t any numbers? What if you come across something like this, and want to know what it means:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

This is where the true fun is. At first, it looks like a meaningless series of letters, but after you’ve seen a few hundred, you start to notice some patterns. As any good cryptographer knows, patterns in codes are usually a bad thing - except for anyone who wants to break it. Here are the secrets, such as they are:
As before, a trailing “K” is a threat to “(K)ill”, as are any crossed-out letters. (More on this in a minute.) An “A” at the very beginning pretty much always stands for “Almighty”; it can be safely ignored. Likewise, if the tag ends with an “N”, that virtually always stands for “Nation”; it can be safely ignored. Those two usually occur together, and show up surprisingly often, as pretty much every two-bit bunch of street thugs takes to calling themselves the Almighty Whatever Nation. Looking at our tag above - ACVLN - we’ve gone from five indecipherable letters (a note to a repairman: Air Conditioner, Very Loud Noise?) down to just three, which is a more manageable number.
There are a pretty finite number of “real” gangs in this country, and it’s fairly easy to recognize the abbreviations for most of the most common ones. “GD” are the Gangster Disciples, for example; “VL” are the Vice Lords. “LK” are the Latin Kings, and “LQ” the Latin Queens; sometimes when they’re getting along, they’re the LKQ - Latin Kings and Queens. (And, like every other gang, they’re an “almighty” “nation”, and tag up buildings and fences appropriately - ALKQN.) In our case above, it’s pretty easy to figure out that we’re looking at a tag from the Almighty (something) Vice Lord Nation. The extra letter right before the gang initials probably refers to the “set” name - the specific local bunch of playas, pushers, and pimps who are staking their turf. In some instances - as here - it can provide a little extra information, as well.
Above, I made mention of crossed-out letters in gang graffiti. These aren’t a sign of the author not being able to spell; rather, they’re messages - usually threats. If you see the letters “B”, “C”, “F”, “P”, or “S” crossed-out in a piece of gang graffiti, it’s a threat towards a gang whose name, “nation”, or nickname begins with that letter. B and C are Bloods and Crips, respectively, while “S” is short for “Slobs” - a derogatory nickname for the Bloods. (The Crips are referred to as “Crabs”, incidentally.) “F” and “P” stand for the “Folks” and “Peoples” “nations”, which are sort of loose regional or nationwide alliances of street gangs. In any event, in the Vice Lord tag shown above, you will of course note the letter “C” is not crossed out - which tells you the local Vice Lords don’t have beef with the Crips. This isn’t necessarily huge intelligence, but all too often, little slights in graffiti - crossing out letters, or painting over rival gangs’ tags - are a very real warning sign of impending gang war, so it’s something to keep an eye out for.
So, as you can see, with a few tricks you can whittle a seemingly incomprehensible series of letters down to a more manageable size, and get the gist, at least, of what is being said - you’ve got Vice Lords in your neighborhood! (In this case, the “C” is short for “Conservative”, of all things; the “Conservative Vice Lords” are one of several dozen larger Vice Lord “sets” around the country.) Obviously, this isn’t as challenging as a vignere cipher, but it’s still interesting - and if nothing else, figuring out who’s saying what to whom can help you kill time while waiting for the bus. Besides, knowledge is power, even if it is mostly useless knowledge. Right?
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Blue Alpha

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:24 pm

Yah! A thread I started got stickified!

Boo! Only 73 people read it, and no-one has responded! lol
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Kaiju

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Sat Jun 18, 2011 1:57 pm

Here's a response Razz

This is good stuff. If my town ever develops a gang problem, I'll keep this stuff in mind. As is we just have occasional vandals.
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Leviathan

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Wed Jul 06, 2011 12:02 pm

Here's a basic primer from the Florida Department of Corrections
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A second primer, less official but more in-depth:
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I would say polaroids, but the instamatic no longer is with us. So, take pics, print them out, hand them in with exact locations to local LEO gang task forces where applicable. Then paint over their tags if you can. Let them know this isn't their neighborhood. After a while, they'll get real mad, possibly retaliate. Don't give up. They feed on people giving up and giving in.
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DRock

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:00 pm

I keep seeing 'ATW' in Calgary. I can't find any info on them, and my google-fu is pretty good.

What if you can't paint over graffiti? Is there an efficient way to clean it off metal or buildings?
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Leviathan

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Wed Jul 06, 2011 3:09 pm

DRock wrote:
I keep seeing 'ATW' in Calgary. I can't find any info on them, and my google-fu is pretty good.

What if you can't paint over graffiti? Is there an efficient way to clean it off metal or buildings?

Paint is often just a couple of microns or so thick. It depends on the chemical composition of the paint, the metal (stainless, cast iron, aluminium, eg)
Two products:
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ATW could be Asian Tong West-side, maybe a break-off from the FOBs "Fresh Off the Boat"
You got me curious so I did some searching in some CTV archives and Calgary special crimes for five minutes. Wow, Canada has more than maple syrup and Gordon Lightfoot to offer apparently.
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Krystalline

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Thu Jul 07, 2011 2:57 pm

Black Knight of Facebook posted an article from New Jersey about spotting gang members in your neighborhood, but it was pretty vague on the details so I did some searching and found some good info on how to spot gang members for those of you who aren't familiar with gangs. I'd suggest the first link the most, it's the best out of these articles.

Gang Awareness Guide from New Jersey Government: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

How to spot if a family member is in a gang from the Monterey County Joint Gang Task Force: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Portland Mercury reports on how to dress like a gang member: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Bulletin on "Gang Members and Delinquent Behavior" by the U.S. Department of Justice: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Hissyfit

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Tue Sep 06, 2011 3:11 pm

Good info guys. I've been noticing some fresh tags in my neighborhood and hearing some reports about possible gang threats against citizens in my area. Looks like I've got some homework to do so I can help inform the public. I really appreciate the knowledge.
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Polarman

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:10 pm

Up here Most grafitti is usually stuff about bodyparts such as boobs or gentital areas Often we see crude pics of naked men or women sometimes appearing to hold stuffed toys or dolls One such pic I saw a while back was a man with a hard on holding a teddy bear Other stuff is graffitti such as ***** loves ******* and the rumorus crap such as saying ******* is an @$$hole Alot of the naked people are4 drawn onto the climbing strutcutes in the children's playground From what I can tell but Im not sure This is leaning towards child rape and/or sexual abuse maybe even childporn

Any thoughts on this?
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Hazmat

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:55 pm

Child rape / childporn seems like the direction it points. Never heard of such a thing.

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Hissyfit

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:39 am

Polarman wrote:
Alot of the naked people are4 drawn onto the climbing strutcutes in the children's playground From what I can tell but Im not sure This is leaning towards child rape and/or sexual abuse maybe even childporn

Any thoughts on this?

Hmm... I'm not sure that's the direction it's going, but it definitely sounds fishy. It's better to be safe than sorry. Contact your local authorities so they can help keep an eye out or increase patrols in the area. It'd probably be a good idea to talk to parents of any children playing in the park too. Kids shouldn't have to see that type of stuff. You might want to look into removing the graffiti yourself Polarman. Taginator works wonders. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
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Goldilocks

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:29 am

I'm going to look at graffiti totally differently now! Okay maybe not totally, I still would rather it wasn't in the parks I go to, but it will look less like gibberish to me now... I can't do patrols (I have no skillz!) but I'm going to put cleaning up graffiti on my list of things to work on. The cops around here can get kind of picky about people doing it though, I've heard.
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The Jinn

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:10 am

Blue Alpha wrote:
Hey, I found this online. My understanding of graffiti is limited, but what I know matches stuff here, so I'm showing it to you guys.

Where graffiti is concerned, the writing truly is “on the wall”. It’s an annoyance, to be sure, but it’s also somewhat interesting - at least the gang-related graffiti, anyway. In many ways, gang graffiti is a code - and like most codes, it’s susceptible to analysis.
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]
Here in the U.S., at least, the first thing one should do when finding graffiti is to look at the letters, if any, and the overall design. If it has “bubble letters”, more than one color of paint or ink, or shows even a hint of artistry, it’s almost certainly not gang related. If it has sharp, angular stick letters, or contains religious (including “satanic”) imagery, or is done in one color of paint, it’s probably gang related.
A lot of times, the graffiti will be very simple, and flat-out say, for example, “West Side Bloods”. That, obviously, is easy to figure out. But what if you see just a series of letters or numbers that don’t seem to make any immediate sense? That’s the fun part, which requires some rudimentary code-breaking skills.
First of all, look for numbers. If you see two digits - especially “13″, “14″, or “18″, you’re probably looking at graffiti for a hispanic gang. If you see three digits - especially if they’re your, or a nearby, area code - it’s almost certainly not a hispanic gang, but your typical prison/street sort. There’s an easy exception to remember: If the numbers are followed by “K”, you’re looking at a threat from a rival gang. “WS18″ is a tag for the (hispanic) West Side 18th Street gang out of California; “WS18K” is a threat towards 18th Street by a local gang. (”K” is short for “Kill”.) If there are two digits, see if they’re prefixed by “N”, “S”, “E”, or “W” - (or “NS”, “SS”, “ES”, or “WS”) - which relate to the cardinal directions, and form part of the gang’s identity. Here in the Twin Cities, for example, you see a lot of “S13″ tags - they’re promoting “South 13″, or more properly, “Surenos Trece”. You’ll see 13 and 14 a lot in graffiti for hispanic gangs - the 13th letter of the alphabet is “M”, which generally stands for “Mexico” (but sometimes “La Eme”, the Mexican Mafia); the 14th letter is of course “N”, which generally means “North”, or “Norteno”. “Norteno” has nothing much to do with the US-Mexico border; it instead means which end of California the gang originated from. Much like the divide between east-coast and west-coast rappers, gangstas from the north and south parts of California frequently “got beef” with each other.
But what if there aren’t any numbers? What if you come across something like this, and want to know what it means:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

This is where the true fun is. At first, it looks like a meaningless series of letters, but after you’ve seen a few hundred, you start to notice some patterns. As any good cryptographer knows, patterns in codes are usually a bad thing - except for anyone who wants to break it. Here are the secrets, such as they are:
As before, a trailing “K” is a threat to “(K)ill”, as are any crossed-out letters. (More on this in a minute.) An “A” at the very beginning pretty much always stands for “Almighty”; it can be safely ignored. Likewise, if the tag ends with an “N”, that virtually always stands for “Nation”; it can be safely ignored. Those two usually occur together, and show up surprisingly often, as pretty much every two-bit bunch of street thugs takes to calling themselves the Almighty Whatever Nation. Looking at our tag above - ACVLN - we’ve gone from five indecipherable letters (a note to a repairman: Air Conditioner, Very Loud Noise?) down to just three, which is a more manageable number.
There are a pretty finite number of “real” gangs in this country, and it’s fairly easy to recognize the abbreviations for most of the most common ones. “GD” are the Gangster Disciples, for example; “VL” are the Vice Lords. “LK” are the Latin Kings, and “LQ” the Latin Queens; sometimes when they’re getting along, they’re the LKQ - Latin Kings and Queens. (And, like every other gang, they’re an “almighty” “nation”, and tag up buildings and fences appropriately - ALKQN.) In our case above, it’s pretty easy to figure out that we’re looking at a tag from the Almighty (something) Vice Lord Nation. The extra letter right before the gang initials probably refers to the “set” name - the specific local bunch of playas, pushers, and pimps who are staking their turf. In some instances - as here - it can provide a little extra information, as well.
Above, I made mention of crossed-out letters in gang graffiti. These aren’t a sign of the author not being able to spell; rather, they’re messages - usually threats. If you see the letters “B”, “C”, “F”, “P”, or “S” crossed-out in a piece of gang graffiti, it’s a threat towards a gang whose name, “nation”, or nickname begins with that letter. B and C are Bloods and Crips, respectively, while “S” is short for “Slobs” - a derogatory nickname for the Bloods. (The Crips are referred to as “Crabs”, incidentally.) “F” and “P” stand for the “Folks” and “Peoples” “nations”, which are sort of loose regional or nationwide alliances of street gangs. In any event, in the Vice Lord tag shown above, you will of course note the letter “C” is not crossed out - which tells you the local Vice Lords don’t have beef with the Crips. This isn’t necessarily huge intelligence, but all too often, little slights in graffiti - crossing out letters, or painting over rival gangs’ tags - are a very real warning sign of impending gang war, so it’s something to keep an eye out for.
So, as you can see, with a few tricks you can whittle a seemingly incomprehensible series of letters down to a more manageable size, and get the gist, at least, of what is being said - you’ve got Vice Lords in your neighborhood! (In this case, the “C” is short for “Conservative”, of all things; the “Conservative Vice Lords” are one of several dozen larger Vice Lord “sets” around the country.) Obviously, this isn’t as challenging as a vignere cipher, but it’s still interesting - and if nothing else, figuring out who’s saying what to whom can help you kill time while waiting for the bus. Besides, knowledge is power, even if it is mostly useless knowledge. Right?

I found this super interesting as cryptography is a hobby of mine and is related in no small part to my work. I learned something that made a statement I saw near my doctor's office make sense. On the wall of a car wash next to the office was a statement, "Death to slobs". There were other statements like various numbers as well as some stuff that made reference to a local Crip group. I thought "Death to Slobs was a statement against poorly dressed people. (Which I agree with. I mean, why have a fashion industry if everyone is going to just ignore them when tell tell us important things like how to dress?) Now I realize it was a threat against Bloods. (Which I also agree with.)

When I was a kid, there were some Kings in my neighborhood. They drew crowns EVERYWHERE. As of late there are alot of MS13s up there. I see their tags when I ride into Charlotte.
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Black Cat

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 pm

Something that I'm curious about is what you mean by satanic symbolism. The Pentagram is not technically satanic, it's a symbol for witches or the Wiccan religion of which I am an active member. However, you are most assuredly correct by the use of numbers and some letters. Wichita is a huge gang town with a large criminal community. And we have several areas that are very much gang territory. However the most prevalent gang, or at least most open is the juggalos(whoop whoop) which are technically not a gang until recently since the FBI have classified them as such. But your info is pretty sound regardless.
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Vulpo

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:20 am

I'm afraid that society has already mixed anything related to witchcraft with things that are satanic by their perceptions. It might have to do with the fact that most Christians believe that witchcraft is literally a product of the devil himself. And the Horned God is often perceived in the eyes of the ignorant as a personification of said devil. I do believe that in many historical depictions of Satan he had the head of a goat.


I have never met a Wiccan before, this is interesting. Which denomination are you a part of? Or are you a solitary practitioner?
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Black Cat

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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Thu Dec 29, 2011 11:23 pm

I'm solitary, although we have a decent church here. I follow the warriors path, since my personal goddess is Sehkmet. But yeah, it is true perceptions are often convoluted. The whole thing about suffer not a witch to live, is wrong. The original text says a sorceress, which back then meant a poisoner, or a murderer. But yes thanks for asking though.
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PostSubject: Re: Reading Gang-Related Graffiti   Tue Jan 17, 2012 1:04 pm

Are there any how-to recommendations regarding graffiti removal/over-painting during a New England winter?
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