Crips vs Bloods: Difference and Comparison (2024)

People who lack the power of understanding get into something unusual or violent that they feel will protect them wherever they go. Unfortunately, the world is full of such individuals.

Los Angeles was the home to such destructive minds during the 1960s and 1970s. It goes back to when their other neighbouring LA citizens looked down upon the black youth of South Central LA.

They were tortured, harassed and even arrested without any crime as such. In simpler terms, they were dominated and were devoid of many rights. All of this filled them with rage, and this is when the words like “Crips” and “Bloods” came into existence.

Groups were divided, alliances were formed, along with illegal activities going on.

The rivalry began when the Crip members attacked two students of Centennial High School in the 1960s. Since then, there has always been some bad blood between the Crips and the Bloods.

Both gangs are responsible for a substantial portion of the criminal activities in Los Angeles.

Key Takeaways

  1. Crips and Bloods are two rival street gangs that originated in Los Angeles in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
  2. The Crips are identified by the color blue and are known for their involvement in drug trafficking, while the Bloods are identified by the color red and are known for their involvement in violence and homicide.
  3. While both gangs have a history of violence and criminal activity, there are also community-based efforts to reduce gang activity and provide alternatives to gang membership.

Origins of Crips and Bloods

In the late 1960s, the Crips and Bloods gangs emerged in Los Angeles as a response to social and economic challenges faced by African Americans. The Crips, initially a neighbourhood protection group, were formed by Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams. They aimed to fight against oppression and provide a sense of unity for youths in their community. However, over time, the Crips gained a reputation for engaging in violent activities like extortion and theft.

During this time, another gang called the Bloods was established to rival the growing power of the Crips. The Bloods emerged when two students, Sylvester Scott and Benson Owens from Centennial High School in Compton, California, were attacked by the Crips. This incident led to a competing gang that aimed to protect their community from the influence of the Crips.

The rivalry between the Crips and the Bloods intensified in the 1970s, with both gangs involved in criminal activities and turf wars. Between 1972 and 1979, the ongoing feud accounted for most of the approximately 450 gang-related murders in South Los Angeles.

While both gangs share similar origins, they have distinct symbols and behaviours that differentiate them. The Bloods wear red and use the number five as one of their symbols, whereas the Crips wear blue and use six-point stars. Despite having initially formed to combat oppression, these two gangs continue to maintain a violent rivalry that has lasted for decades.

Crips vs Bloods

Crips were founded in 1969 by Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams, who wear blue and use the letter “C” to represent them. Blood was founded in 1972 by a group of young men in the same South Los Angeles neighbourhood as the Crips, who used the letter “B” to represent their gang and wear red.

Crips vs Bloods: Difference and Comparison (1)

Key Figures in Crips and Bloods

As you delve into the Crips and Bloods, you’ll come across certain key figures who played significant roles in the formation and growth of these infamous Los Angeles street gangs. The founders of both gangs are important to mention, as well as other individuals who have been influential in their respective communities.

Crips Founders:

  • Raymond Washington: Washington was one of the co-founders of the Crips in 1969. He was a student at Fremont High School in Los Angeles at the time. Washington was known for being charismatic and assertive, which helped him establish the Crips as a force in South Central LA. Unfortunately, his life was cut short when he was shot and killed in 1979 at just 25 years old.
  • Stanley “Tookie” Williams: Williams was the other co-founder of the Crips, alongside Washington. He was also a standout figure in the gang’s early days and became a well-known leader. However, after being convicted of multiple murders, he was sentenced to death and executed in 2005. While in prison, Williams wrote books about his life and actively promoted anti-gang messages, earning him multiple Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

Bloods Founders:

The Bloods were formed in response to the growing influence of the Crips. Their founders and key figures include:

  • Sylvester Scott and Benson Owens: Both Scott and Owens were students at Centennial High School in Compton, California, who became targets of Crip attacks. In response, they and other community members formed the Pirus, which later evolved into the Bloods. Scott and Owens’ actions demonstrated a desire for protection and self-preservation in the face of escalating gang violence.

These individuals played crucial roles in shaping the Crips and Bloods. While some have been more controversial than others, their contributions to these gangs cannot be overlooked. As you further explore the complex history of these groups, you’ll undoubtedly gain a deeper understanding of their motivations and the circ*mstances surrounding their development.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonCripsBloods
OriginThe gang was formed in 1969 in South Los Angeles, California.It was formed in the mid-1972 in Los Angeles, California.
FoundersRaymond Washington and Stanley Williams were the founders.The founders were other street gangs headed by the Piru street boys.
Gang colourThey wear blue colour as their identification.Whereas, they wear red colour.
MembershipIt is estimated to be around 30,000 to 35,000.It is around 20,000 to 25,000.
TerritoryIt prevails over the United States only.Primarily in the United States but also in Canada.
EthnicityThe members are mainly African Americans.The members are mainly African Americans, but many Latinos, whites and Asian Americans are with them too.

Who are Crips?

The Crips gang was born in southern California in 1969. Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams founded it. It includes people of African American heritage with the United States as its territory. Blue is the colour of their dress code.

Also Read: Dual vs Cooperative Federalism: Difference and Comparison

The Crips are considered one of the most dangerous street gangs in the US today. With a huge membership, i.e., 30,000 to 35,000 approximately, they are involved in all types of criminal activities such as robberies, murders, drug dealing, gambling and many more.

The gang created by Raymond Washington initially worked to protect its neighbourhood from external power and danger. But with time, this motto faded, and the gang began dealing with criminal activities more often.

Then came the time when Washington united his gang with that of Williams, which belonged to the eastern and western LA. They allied together to protect their areas of control.

Initially, the fights were without guns. But as local gangs joined, making Crips bigger and more powerful, the fights shifted towards the gunshots.

Crips vs Bloods: Difference and Comparison (2)

Who are Bloods?

The Bloods, or the Original Blood Family (OBF), are a Los Angeles, California street gang. The Piru Street boys founded the gang in the mid-1972 after their rivalry with the Crips began.

The members of the gang wear red as their identification. They also have some hand signs as their gang symbols.

With an estimated membership of 20,000 to 25,000, they are involved vigorously in activities such as murders, robberies etc., just like the Crips. The members are mainly African Americans but also have Latinos, whites and Asian Americans with them.

The members are teenagers or in their early twenties. But some are also in their late twenties or even thirties.

When the Crips started to grow in size, they also started targeting other gangs. This is when some non-Crip gangs came together and established an alliance of their own to fight against the rising influence of the Crips. The gang that emerged from it got to be known as the Bloods.

The Bloods do not have a known official leader. It is, therefore, divided into sets with a leadership structure based on hierarchy.

Crips vs Bloods: Difference and Comparison (3)

Main Differences Between Crips and Bloods

  1. The Crips gang was formed to rise to power, whereas the Bloods gang was formed to fight against the rising influence of the Crips.
  1. The Crips gang was founded by Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams in 1969. The Bloods gang was founded when small street gangs got together, headed by the Piru street boys in the mid-1972.
  2. The Crips wear blue, while the Bloods wear red as their identification.
  3. The membership of the Crips is about 30,000 to 35,000, while that of the Bloods is about 20,000 to 25,000.
  4. The area of control of the Crips is the United States, but the area of control of the Bloods is the US and also Canada.
  5. The members of the Crips are African Americans. The members of the Bloods are mainly African Americans, but there are also many Latinos, whites and Asian Americans present.

Territorial Dominance

In the world of street gangs, territorial dominance is a crucial aspect of their identity and operations. As you explore the rivalry between the Bloods and the Crips, it is essential to understand that their territorial claims play a significant role in their ongoing conflict.

The Bloods, primarily recognized for their red attire, originated in Los Angeles, California. Over the years, their territorial influence has spread to cover not only specific neighborhoods within the city but also other regions across the United States. Their expansion has led them to form alliances with various other street gangs, solidifying their presence in the areas they control.

The Crips, distinguishable by their blue clothing, also have their roots in Los Angeles. They were initially established to counteract the aggression and control of other gangs in specific neighborhoods. Just like the Bloods, the Crips have expanded their influence to regions beyond their original domain.

Both gangs’ territories are adjacent to or overlap one another, which has led to increased tensions and confrontations between the two. These contested areas are the center of violent clashes, as they symbolize their respective gang’s dominance and control.

  • Bloods territory: South Los Angeles, Compton, Inglewood, and various regions across the United States.
  • Crips territory: South Los Angeles, Watts, Long Beach, and several locations throughout America.

It is essential to note that within these territories, there are subgroups operating under either the Bloods or Crips umbrella. These subgroups, referred to as “sets,” maintain their territorial claims and engage in conflicts with rival sets in their struggle for dominance.

GangKey TerritoriesSets
BloodsSouth Los Angeles, Compton, InglewoodPirus, Bounty Hunters, Athens Park Boys, etc.
CripsSouth Los Angeles, Watts, Long BeachRollin’ 60s, Grape Street, Eight Tray, etc.

As you continue to delve into the Bloods and Crips rivalry, always remember that territorial dominance is a core aspect of their ongoing conflict. The constant battle for control of neighborhoods, resources, and alliances is an ever-present theme in their story.

Symbols and Identifications

As you explore the history and differences between the Bloods and Crips, it is essential to look at how these gangs identify themselves through symbols, colors, and other distinguishing features.

The Bloods gang, founded in the early 1960s in Los Angeles, California, is known for its red clothing and distinctive hand signs. These visual cues help to identify members and showcase allegiance to the group. Various subgroups, or “sets,” may have different colors, clothing, and even political ideas, leading to internal conflicts within the gang.

On the other hand, the Crips gang, founded in mid-1972 in Los Angeles, California, uses the color blue in their dress code to represent their affiliation. Like the Bloods, the Crips also have specific hand signs as part of their gang symbols. An estimated 20,000 to 25,000 members participate in criminal activities such as murder, robbery, and drug dealing.

Both gangs use tattoos and graffiti to assert their presence in certain areas further and communicate messages to rival gangs or law enforcement. Graffiti may include the gang’s name, symbols, or coded messages to intimidate or challenge their rivals.

When identifying gang members, consider their attitude, demeanor, clothing, grooming, and customs. The Bloods and Crips may display tattoos that indicate rank, specific set allegiance, or personal achievements within the gang. Some tattoos may even utilize rival gang symbols, such as logos or colors, to mock or challenge their enemies.

Also Read: Minister vs Pastor: Difference and Comparison

In summary, the Bloods and Crips use symbols, colors, hand signs, tattoos, and graffiti to represent their gang affiliations and to communicate with other members or rival gangs. These visual elements play a crucial role in gang culture, helping to establish distinct identities while also reflecting the complexities and internal conflicts within each group.

Crips and Bloods: Conflicts and Battles

As you delve into the complex history of the Crips and Bloods, it is essential to understand the nature of the conflicts and battles between these two notorious Los Angeles gangs. While their rivalry was primarily rooted in their origins, it has evolved over time and has manifested in various forms of violence, crime, and social impact.

During the late 1960s, the Crips were formed in response to the growing prevalence of street gangs in Los Angeles, primarily targeting African-Americans. Other local African-American street gangs united to protect themselves from the Crips, giving birth to the Bloods. This alliance began a long and turbulent relationship between the two rivals.

Over the past few decades, the Crips and Bloods have engaged in numerous conflicts and battles, fueled by disputes over territory, resources, and power. These conflicts have led to countless acts of violence, including shootings, stabbings, and other forms of assault. Many of these incidents have resulted in tragic loss of life, affecting gang members and innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire.

In addition to physical violence, the Crips and Bloods have participated in various criminal activities, such as drug trafficking, robberies, and other illegal endeavors. These activities further exacerbate tensions between the gangs and have a destructive impact on the communities they inhabit.

It is important for you to recognize that the Crips and Bloods distinction is not as straightforward as it may seem, as their histories, reasons for forming, beliefs, and cultures differ significantly. Furthermore, their rivalry is not solely based on their gang affiliation or the colors they wear (red for Bloods and blue for Crips). Still, it is deeply rooted in the complex socio-political context of gang culture in Los Angeles.

As you continue to explore the history and impact of the Crips and Bloods rivalry, remember the multi-faceted nature of their conflicts and the devastating consequences of their ongoing battles. Remember that understanding this aspect of their rivalry is vital in gaining a comprehensive view of the broader gang culture in the United States.

Implications on Society

Influence on Pop Culture

The Bloods and Crips have had a significant influence on popular culture. You might have noticed how their stories have been featured in various forms of media, such as movies, music, and television. Hip-hop, in particular, has been heavily influenced by the experiences and lifestyles of gang members. Some artists, like Snoop Dogg, Ice-T, and The Game, have openly referenced their affiliations with these gangs in their music, which helped to popularize and romanticize their lifestyles.

While this exposure has allowed for a broader understanding of gang culture, it has also glamorised violence, drug use, and criminal behaviour in mainstream media. Consequently, these portrayals can contribute to negative stereotypes and reinforce societal racial biases.

Economic Impact

The economies in communities affected by gang violence have experienced significant challenges. Due to the Bloods and Crips engaging in criminal activities such as drug trafficking, illegal firearms sales, and extortion, their presence has led to a decline in economic development in certain areas.

  • Loss of businesses: Local businesses face difficulties in operating under the constant threat of violence, extortion, and vandalism.
  • Reduced property values: The negative connotations associated with gang-ridden neighbourhoods make real estate less desirable, affecting property values and the overall investment climate in the area.
  • Increased law enforcement costs: The presence of gangs complicates local law enforcement efforts, leading to higher costs for communities that need to invest more resources into maintaining safety.

As a result of this economic strain, communities with a heavy presence of gangs like the Bloods and Crips face challenges in providing adequate public services, such as education, healthcare, and housing.

Law Enforcement and Legal Issues

As you delve into the world of the Crips and Bloods, it is crucial to understand the various legal issues and law enforcement challenges these street gangs pose. The primary motivator for both gangs is financial gain through criminal activities, such as carjackings, narcotics trafficking, and armed robberies.

Engaging with law enforcement: Proactive measures taken by law enforcement agencies can effectively counter the expansion and activities of these gangs. A collaborative effort between local government, social groups, churches, and law enforcement agencies is essential in developing a comprehensive strategy to combat the gangs. It’s important that you, as a law enforcement professional, understand the gang culture and their tactics to respond to the threat they pose effectively.

Narcotics trafficking: One of the primary modes of operation for both Crips and Bloods is drug trafficking. They establish their networks in communities outside of Los Angeles and create a robust market for illegal drugs. As an investigator, you should pay close attention to the patterns of drug distribution, sources of supply, and the methods used by the gangs to transport and distribute drugs. This knowledge will enable you to disrupt their operations and dismantle their networks effectively.

Legal challenges: Convicting gang members in court can be difficult due to factors such as witness intimidation and the complex nature of organized crime. Prosecutors must build strong cases, relying on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act as a legal tool to target and prosecute gang leaders and members. You must gather sufficient evidence, ensure witness protection, and work closely with prosecutors to ensure successful convictions.

Community impact and prevention: Crips and Bloods have a profound impact on the communities they operate in, spreading fear, causing violence, and disrupting the social fabric. It’s crucial that you develop strong relationships with community members, organizations, and schools to implement preventive measures and support those affected by gang violence. Through these efforts, you can foster a sense of community and empower them to stand against the threats of Crips and Bloods.



Last Updated : 09 September, 2023

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Emma Smith

Emma Smith holds an MA degree in English from Irvine Valley College. She has been a Journalist since 2002, writing articles on the English language, Sports, and Law. Read more about me on her bio page.

Crips vs Bloods: Difference and Comparison (2024)
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