New York turns up the heat on Crips, Bloods
3-day sweep nets 167 alleged gang members
August 27, 1997
Web posted at: 11:43 p.m. EDT (0343 GMT)
From Correspondent Peg Tyre
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The Crips and the Bloods, gangs synonymous
with bloody violence on the West Coast, have been steadily
migrating eastward, but they have run into a rude welcome in
In a recent three-day sweep, New York City police arrested
167 alleged members of the gangs. Most of them are reported
to be Bloods, but at least one unit of Crips was collared.
The alleged gang members have been charged with crimes
ranging from assault and drug sales to attempted murder.
"Operation Red Bandana was designed to break this pattern of
violent crime, stop their efforts to expand and organize in
the city," said Police Commissioner Howard Safir.
The Crips and the Bloods have been migrating from Los Angeles
through the Midwest to the East. They have entrenched
themselves in Boston as well as Nashville, Tennessee, and
Louisville, Kentucky, but police say they've never gotten a
solid toehold in the Big Apple until recently.
They reportedly got their start in the city prison on Rikers
Island where they battled two other gangs, the Latin Kings
and Netas, for dominance.
135 slashings attributed to gang rituals
"We know who the members are and where they are and we know
where they move," said Deputy Commissioner Bernard Keric of
New York City Corrections. "We class them by their records in
the jail when they come in."
In the last year or so, officials say, Bloods graffiti began
showing up on the streets of New York City. But it wasn't the
wearing of the symbolic red bandana or the graffiti that
prompted the NYPD to act, it was the violence.
City police first noticed a sharp increase in what seemed
like random slashings. Two young men would approach a
stranger on the street or subway, pull out a box-cutter and
slash their victim's face. Police now attribute 135 of these
slashings to gang initiation rituals.
"We will continue to pursue these investigations and work
toward the total eradication of all criminal gangs," Safir
said. "We are determined to prevent New York City from
becoming an outpost for this kind of criminal activity."
Police estimate that another 800 members of the Crips and
Bloods are still operating in New York City, but they hope
Operation Red Bandana will put a damper on their growth.