Gangs colors tattoos
Law Enforcement Vigilant as Gangs Cut Back on Colors, Tattoos (CREDIT: Flickr Commons)

As gangs were established in the 1980s and 90s in the United States, colors were often associated with those gangs. The West Coast-based bloods would wear red with the rival Crips donning blue. Members would also identify themselves with tattoos.

Today, law enforcement is finding it increasingly difficult to identify gang members as they have cut back on the colors they wear and the tattoos get.

Gangs have started doing this for multiple reasons, according to the The Associated PressSome of the underlying reasons include keeping law enforcement guessing, “committing more white-collar-type crimes,” prison conditions and specific state laws that target streets gangs.

In Connecticut, officials can use racketeering laws once reserved for the mob to go after gangs. In Los Angeles, court injunctions allow police to enforce nighttime curfews and arrest people for hanging out in public and wearing gang colors.

… Wearing colors has long been a way for gang members to show solidarity, but the FBI says gang members are indeed shying away from displaying identifiers. Often the only time colors and other identifiers are now displayed is at gang functions and funerals, according to the FBI’s 2013 National Gang report.

“Many of them don’t wear colors. They tell us they’re not in gangs,” Hartford Police Sgt. Johnmichael O’Hare told The Associated Press. “They’re trying to avoid detection from law enforcement.”

Up Next

Two Vietnam War Soldiers Awarded Medal of Honor After Long Wait

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins and Spc. 4 Donald P. Sloat were...