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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Crips are one of the largest gangs in the U.S. today, with an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 members

The Crips are one of the largest gangs in the U.S. today, with an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 members, and largely rival the Bloods, another large street gang founded in Los Angeles.
“Ice T told me he joined a gang because his dad was a crackhead and his mom was an alcoholic,” Keiser said. “He said he didn’t know where he came from or who he was. The relative he was living with was absent most of the time as well.”

Last month, Keiser said he spoke with a 16-year-old who was a member of the Elm Street Piru Gang in Baltimore and came up to the Dallastown School District.The child got kicked out of the York County school and ended up in a local detention center.“He was making $5,000 a week selling crack cocaine on the corner,” Keiser said. “The sad thing is his mom works in a big hospital on the East Coast and makes good money, but she was just never around I guess. These kids see guys like Young Jeezy, who is a rapper from Atlanta that made it big and they think they can do that. I tell them that he is one-half of one percent of all these guys that are out there. How glamorous is it to have an Expedition with 22-inch rims sitting in front of your project housing. MTV Cribs is not coming to your house. That is the reality.”Media glamorization was another cause of gang membership cited by Keiser Monday.To display that fact to his audience, he played mini-segments of two video games that openly promote violence, Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row.In Saints Row, the player’s character is enlisted into a gang to help it defeat three rival gangs and take over the fictional city of Stilwater.The player can engage in gunfights and also steal and drive a variety of vehicles.Keiser also played a You Tube music video of rapper Snoop Dogg’s “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” which features many references to the Crips gang.“This is out there and this is what the kids are seeing and playing,” he added. “To be able to understand where they are coming from and how to deal with the problem, we have to be aware of this. They want the excitement in their life.”Having the right person talk to a gang member or a young person who may become one is what Keiser views as the key to success.“You have to speak their language and relate to them,” he said. “A middle-aged white guy is not going to have much relatability walking down to the hood. You have to have someone who is of the same ethnicity and who is charismatic and has a concern for the kids. Don’t get in their face about their lifestyle.”
Warning signs that children may be involved in gang-related activities include wearing one specific color every day, physical injuries, an excess of symbols, tattoos or flags, and an increased interest in violent video games or the gangster lifestyle.


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