Deciphering Gang Graffiti

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.

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:

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?

(Edit: There’s more on this subject here, if you’re interested. And here. And here, too.)

Published in: Geekiness, General | on May 29th, 2008| 85 Comments »

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85 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On 6/2/2008 at 12:03 pm Mike Said:

    I would like to correct something: they’re promoting “South 13″, or more properly, “Suremos Trece?. Suremos is WRONG!. Surrenos or Sur. Southerns or South. One reffering to the prison gang, Surrenos and Sur reffering to the Street gang in East LA/City of Commerce/Montebello. there is also the “F” and “P”. you failed to mention that the “P” could stand for Piru. The reason I point this out, is the sentence before that you explained bloods and crips, this could confuse new comers. FYI Piru == Crip backwards with the C on it’s back.

    Overall tho nice topic, growing up in LA myself traveling RTD (before MTA :)) yeah needed something to read and graphiti was my hobby and past time.

  2. On 6/2/2008 at 12:19 pm Nemo Said:

    Yeah, it’s incredibly complicated, and for most “rules” there are of course exceptions. Incidentally, you are wrong, too – it looks like it’s actually supposed to be “Surenos”, not “Surrenos”. :) Then again, to be fair, literacy doesn’t seem to be a requirement to join any of these organizations. I’m pretty sure I have a photo somewhere of a tag that says “Suremos 13″, and I know I’ve got photos of two or three different ways to spell “rifenos”. I’ve changed “Suremos” to “Surenos”, though; thanks.

  3. On 6/4/2008 at 11:13 pm jack Said:

    the C is for “conservative.” the CVLs are not really a “local” clique, but a pretty important force in chicago, and around the region.

    also, the 13/M connection is also very important for MS13. they aren’t as powerful in your area as they are some places, but nation wide, it is a tag you see a whole lot.

  4. On 6/29/2008 at 12:47 pm Steve C. Said:

    Very interesting…the school I work at was hit very hard last night and the following was tagged everywhere…tell me what you think.

    xBLOPx note: the X’s were very small and situated to the lower bottom corner’s of the first and last letters used. The “O” most of the time was a face with two x’s for eyes and a smile.

  5. On 6/29/2008 at 2:56 pm Nemo Said:

    Steve – good news, of sorts; your school has been “tagged” by a graffiti artiste, not a gang member. As you might guess, the fellow’s nickname is “Blop”. I’m not very familiar with tagger culture, as their graffiti has much less meaning – and thus holds less interest for me – than gang-related stuff, so I don’t know the meaning, if any, of the small x’s, but they’re a quite common embellishment to tags.

    By the way, if you think “Blop” is a weird tag, a quite prolific tagger in Minneapolis goes by – or at least used to – the handle “Urine”. Go figure…

  6. On 7/14/2008 at 9:47 am Penny Said:

    Does anyone know what SHAKB might stand for? Our building just got marked last week. (I’m reluctant to say “tagged” because I don’t believe that it’s a real threat right now. There’s that denial!)

    Anyway, it’s in one color, looks like a tangle of letters. We’re in a suburb of Detroit — well north of the city. Any ideas?

  7. On 8/4/2008 at 2:08 pm marie mcguire Said:

    have new latino neighbors. when they bought the house next door they repainted it. about a week later someone spay painted what looks like BMS on the side of the house that is visible from the street. i could not figure out why they did not paint over it. a young friend stopped by one day and said it was a gang marking. she said it is not a sloppy B, it is 13. there is always a lot of young men coming and going. they are not disruptive but i am uneasy at the thought of gang members next door. they do not bother us because i have 135lb. rottie that does not like them. is this a gang sign? it has been almost a year and the BMS is still there and they painted the garage and left it on the house????

  8. On 8/4/2008 at 3:20 pm Nemo Said:

    Marie-

    Are you sure it’s “13MS” and not “13NS”, or “18NS”? Without seeing a picture, I’m going to guess it’s one of the latter.

    Pretty literally any graffiti you see with the number “13″ in it is going to be gang-related, so, yeah, it’s a gang sign. Without seeing it, I can’t tell you much more; if it really, truly is “13MS”, then it might be a tag for Mara Salvatrucha, which would be extraordinarily bad. (You could try calling your local police department’s intelligence division; if Mara Salvatrucha are in your city, the police are definitely going to know.)

  9. On 8/27/2008 at 11:17 am brian Said:

    Hi, can anyone tell me if there is a website that i can go
    and decipher gang signs? I am recently out of the military
    and i come home to my alley bieng sprayed. I am done with
    violence and want to know if this is bad or just kids messin
    around.

    thanks.

  10. On 8/28/2008 at 7:30 pm Jane Said:

    I have a met a guy that does have a 5 pointed star tattooed on his neck with a number 3. He said he was part of Hellorado.. Do you know anythng about that? If so, what type of gang is it?

  11. On 10/17/2008 at 3:06 pm Dan Hodges Said:

    We are doing some security assessments for government facilities. WE have the following gangs signs around the facility: 13 $T N.C.C.G BK
    C-CRUC Thent here is a verticla line with an X at the bottom. What is your best guess as to the makeup of this group?

  12. On 10/17/2008 at 3:53 pm Nemo Said:

    Dan: “13 $T NCCG” is “13th Street North Coast Crip Gang”, about which Google will provide a little info. “BK” is a threat towards Blood gangs – “Blood Killers”, or similar. C-CRUC is probably the “name” of the person who left the tag (“C-Crook”, phonetically) but could also be an abbreviation for a motto.

    The “vertical line with an X at the bottom” sounds like an upside-down pitchfork, which is usually a sign of the “People Nation” – but Crips are usually part of the “Folk Nation”, not the People. I would consider it odd if local Folk/Blood members were just tagging up territory with the pitchfork alone, but it’s probably not unheard of.

    I could be wrong about the pitchfork – a photo would really help – but otherwise it sounds like your client’s facilities are in territory claimed by a reasonably well-established Crip set. I have no idea where you are, but I’m going to guess the “makeup” of your local set is fairly typical of Crip sets – predominantly black, with perhaps a small number of white and latino members. (If you search for “NCCG crip” in Google, you’ll find, among other things, a photo gallery of one NCCG member.)

  13. On 1/13/2009 at 6:45 pm Soosie Said:

    Someone keeps tagging V.P XFLATS. then someone else comes along, puts a line through that then tags VBST13. This is downtown Los Angeles. Is this the Mexican 13th St. gang vs who? They do it daily. They always use a different colored paint than the previous tagger.

  14. On 1/13/2009 at 7:11 pm Nemo Said:

    Soosie: It’s one of the sets of the Flats (search Google, or even YouTube, for “flats gang” for more info). I’m not too current on all the LA gangs, but the VBST13 is probably unrelated to 13th St – I suspect it should probably be read as (V.B. Street 13), who, if you ask your local law enforcement nicely, are probably a local hispanic street gang. (To be fair, what you’re reading as VB could also be in reality V13, i.e. “Venice 13″… without seeing a picture, though, all I can really do is guess.)

  15. On 2/5/2009 at 8:10 pm Jackie Said:

    What does C R S with 13 under it mean? Inside the R looks like a little smiley face. Then there is P N Y and XX is under that. Can anyone decipher this for me? It was tagged on a friend of mine’s wall after she called the police for kids turning off her power. Is it a threat?
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks!

  16. On 2/23/2009 at 4:25 pm Clay Said:

    This is what I found when ?I googles the nccg ,http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=121100669 funny IF youre local LEO you should be able to keep real good track of all the members with something like this….. As an ex street kid we didnt even allow pictures taken of each other….. This is funny as hell!

    be safe out there

  17. On 2/23/2009 at 4:35 pm Clay Said:

    Something I find really interesting is the kick backs to EMME (mex mafia) I left town (Philly) before the Pagans brought in local banger colors to beef up gang membership, (lucky me) the MM wanted the Pagans to pay street tax and looks like the eventually did…. Do all mexican bangers pay street tax or at least Homage to EMME? Is that a side effect to the Mexican Mafia being so wide spread? Is there any way to choke off the street tax monies getting back to them? And why can’t Rico be used against them all?

    be safe out there

  18. On 3/27/2009 at 10:28 pm Kelley Said:

    I came out of my apartment and in the hallway was a red line painted horizontially in front of my apartment and just mine. I have seen individuals that have gang looking tattoos in the apartments. I know there are gangs located in the area. I was told that this is a form of tagging and could mean that my apartment or I am tagged for a gang related initiation. Can this be what it is?

  19. On 4/21/2009 at 5:49 pm Dale Said:

    Hey I wanted to know if I can email you a photo of some graffiti that I think might be gang related. I level in a small town in Tx and the Police just said they would make note of the graffiti. Please let me know
    Thanks

  20. On 8/14/2009 at 11:05 am Karen Jones Said:

    Our school has been tagged with a C, line vertically cut through it like a cents sign, and 2 dots on both sides half way down. Can you identify this for me?

    Thanks.

  21. On 9/23/2009 at 8:06 pm tony Said:

    to mike. you said piru is crip backwards umm your stupid. piru is a street in compton bloods rep piru. BK is blood Killers. CK is crip killers . if you grew up in LA you would know. to jack the CVL is CHI town VICE LORDS . ALMIGHTY/LATINKINGS/LATINQUEENS. its also rare to see MS mix it up with SURENOS. salvadorians hare mexicans MS only carry the 13 in respect of la emme. also to nemo you wouldnt see 18th street with NS its a SURENOS street.. i dont blame you all i been there done that if you havnt you would never know whats what. im from south cali and grew up in dade county i know whats good. in prison surs and nortes dont mix yo two different places in the end they do under emme but even then the nortenos have their own place in there. ACVL /all come before vice lords/ lords dont rock the 5 point they rock a 6. lords are part of the Folk Nation. 5 points are usually kings for the 5 point crown. pitch forks facing up are Folk Nation and the pitch fork facing down is dissing Folk Nation. Usually a upside down pitch fork with a F on one side of the stick and a K on the other.

  22. On 9/29/2009 at 5:48 pm Lord5k Said:

    Tony…. ACVL means Almighty Conservative Vice Lord. I am a Vice Lord. CVL from the Chi. And we Lords rep that 5 all day. You tellin these cats on here that they need to know what they be talkin about. Well practice what you teach G. And We use that five point star. You in LA DON’T be talkin about the Chi bangers like you know it. I got real deal experience with that ish. And I can speak properly if you need me to, sir. Vice Lords are apart of the People’s Nation. Spanish Vice Lords arent down with Latin Kings. In alot of Latin King tags/drawings you see SVLK. In Spanish Vice Lord tags/drawings you see alot of LKK. Thats obvious.

    Nemo you did good. If you need help with kids saying stuff that you need checked then notify me. I’m real and Ive done all that. All is well. ACVLN. No love to the Cuz just the kin. 319 Skull Gang. Lawndale rider. QCR Banger. 5 All day.

  23. On 9/29/2009 at 5:56 pm Lord5k Said:

    And so you dont say I’m a fake for being in the 319 the let me clear that up. I reside in Southeast Iowa. And we’re getting alot of people from Chicago movin here lately. So Gang Bangin been on the rise around here.

  24. On 10/1/2009 at 2:24 pm Chicago Cold War Said:

    If any of you need assistance with deciphering Chicago gang graffiti or seeing what it looks like you can check out my flickr page.

    And what the CVL above me was talking about is correct.

    There is a misconception outside of the CHI that gangs that are part of the People alliance are cool with each other and same thing for the Folks but that isnt the case in the CHI anymore. Now a lot of People nations are bangin against People nations and Folks against Folks.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagocoldwar/

  25. On 10/20/2009 at 4:26 pm Patricia Larson Said:

    I have a student that always writes K N C

    Does anyone know what that means??

  26. On 11/5/2009 at 11:42 am Brian Said:

    LVX3TLS

    Does anyone know what this gang symbol represents? Which gang?

  27. On 11/15/2009 at 10:22 pm J Said:

    Our north Chicago neighborhood was tagged overnight – excessively! Most of them are an M in a circle, however there was also an additional “drawing” on the back of our building – the best way to describe it is picture a simply drawn top half of a flower (3 large petals on top), then a face with fangs hanging down. Which gang is this and any idea what the drawing with fangs might be?

  28. On 3/9/2010 at 2:45 pm irvin Said:

    hahaha most of white people dont even know what your talking whith all this gang talk

  29. On 4/19/2010 at 2:14 pm Rick Said:

    In the building where I leave we had one teen went to jail last week for carry a knife and dealing drugs in the school. Two day after we saw graffiti on the both side of the building and at the front door (3F). I know we have the Blood and Crips here on the City of Hawthorne, CA. Do you have any idea what that means? This is relate to “fellow” gang member went to jail? Thank you!

  30. On 9/24/2011 at 2:24 pm D Said:

    We just got tagged but i don’t know what it means, theres 1117 and a triforce sign which i think represents the 3 dots for 13 and i think. I’m thinking it’s a click cuz XIII was on the wall. Just let me know cuz it’s like right around my area and im just wondering cuz it’s everywhere

  31. On 9/25/2011 at 9:09 pm annonymouse Said:

    what does suk 43 mean? someone graffitied or tagged my porch steps with that and being in a bad area with children i dont want to take my chances.

  32. On 10/4/2011 at 12:39 pm roadrunner Said:

    wanted to know what the tagging of 3TK mean. That has been seen in some middle schools. Need to know ASAP
    Thanks-

  33. On 10/24/2011 at 10:46 am Tony Said:

    Hi, I’m 37 and grew up in Los Angeles, more specifically the North Easter part of the San Fernando Valley, and was a tagger/piecer in my days.

    Fast forward to 2011 and I’m a designer, received my degree from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, a highly respected and very expensive school of design… it is one of the few schools modeled after the German Bauhaus school of design theory, in which design is distilled to it’s most essential point of “form following function”… an example of this would be the Apple brand of products where the design is so refined it looks simple.

    As a classically trained graphic designer I am obsessed – as are most – with typography, including graffiti. The truth be told, my interest in gang graf and tags/pieces/throw-ups in Los Angeles comes from both a cultural and a design point of view.

    Being Mexican I was exposed to the typographic obsession that Mexican gangs have refined over the years into often breath taking characters, letters who’s anatomy has been refined sometimes over 6 generations.

    I find myself cataloging gang “placas” whenever I travel back up to L.A., or visit family. Often I tell my girlfriend that I’m as obsessed with territorial markings as much as the gangs are, but truly it’s my anthropological side that’s collecting a record of design styles and in a sense keeping a history of the artistic record my culture has left on the city.

    Now to be clear, I think gangs are a sad waste of youth and an unfortunate result of poverty, lack of strong parenting, and opportunities/schooling.

    I made the most out of my parent’s sacrifice of coming to this country, and educated myself to the best of my abilities thus far, but whatever political or social pov I have on gangs and why they are, the refined aesthetics of their typography is too close to design for me to ignore.

    I only catalog Mexican gang graffiti as African-American Asian , and all other gangs have very poor penmanship and do not share same the obsessive/design based aesthetic of creating a family of characters or communicating their megalomania/pride through their use on walls, tattoos, or endless reams of paper (which I grew up witnessing).

    Also… the “M” does stand for “La Eme/Mexican Mafia”, but it never stands for Mexico… it stands for “Mexican”. Members of the cholo sureño gangs have a twisted sense of history and misguided, although brilliantly manipulative take on what they see as their indigenous lineage. Having pride in one’s history is great, but these guys have created an almost mythical reputation based on Hitleresque ideas of racial superiority (although the truly racist among Mexican gang bangers is pretty rare). Bakersfield is famously the traditional dividing line between Sureños and Norteños btw.

    I have not read the rest of your site, but thank you for allowing me to comment on your post.

    P.S. I am sorry for those of you that have had their beautiful neighborhoods ruined by senseless graffiti, if it’s stylized tags you see I pretty much guarantee that the culprit would rather see his work in a gallery than on your walls.

  34. On 11/2/2011 at 12:04 am red Said:

    Comming home from class tonight i found the light pole in front of my house tagged with “SCANR *AsBk*” and every other pole on my street marked AsBk. Ive always known scanr to be similar to watching though it could be the taggers name. but ive never heard of AsBk. Does anyone have any information on this? I live in an area thats mostly mexican gangs and it really doesnt look like their style.

  35. On 11/2/2011 at 4:55 pm JD Said:

    Do you know what “ETBS” means

  36. On 12/28/2011 at 2:35 pm IMB Said:

    Can anyone tell me what

    “o FA o” means?

  37. On 1/7/2012 at 12:32 am IT Said:

    I had an NA with another A with a line though it tagged on an empty house next door. Also dead rats was written. Can you tell me what gang this is and what dead rats means. Thanks!

  38. On 1/8/2012 at 10:39 pm meowmeow Said:

    IT you need to be more specific to identify that NA and A thing like what hood you live in and state also dead rats means if you are snitching to cops your a “dead rat” not to hard to figure that one out lol

  39. On 1/9/2012 at 5:55 pm Neon White Said:

    I am the security manager at my food packaging plant and we have now had our third incident of tagging. About a month ago we found over 50 tags in one production room on the walls and equipment that were X10 and X76. They don’t fit the descriptions in the article by the numbers written. They are not artistic in any way but they’re all over, some tags have even been scratched into equipment. We’re in a suburb of the Twin Cities but we have workers that come in from Minneapolis every day. Any suggestions as to who this could be and what we should look for in a potential perp? Any input is appreciated. Thanks.
    Heather

  40. On 1/11/2012 at 8:55 pm trying to desipher Said:

    We just had some tagging last night on a house up the street and on 2 walls across the street with C.S.PP13, does anyone know what gang or click this belongs to.

  41. On 1/11/2012 at 8:56 pm trying to desipher Said:

    Does anyone know what C.S. PP13 mean

  42. On 1/13/2012 at 2:25 pm Bill Said:

    Hi, Has anyone ever seen a sign with an upside down A with two X’s above it? They used a stencil to do it and its about 3′ tall. Thanks!

  43. On 1/25/2012 at 11:43 am john Said:

    Does anyone know what an asterisk, with an “upward arrow” next to it means? There is a half circle around the bottom half of these symbols as well. The “upward arrow” looks like a capital A without the horizontal line connecting the two slanted lines.

  44. On 1/30/2012 at 8:59 am Sarge Said:

    Is there a way to post a picture of “tagging” to see if they mean anything at all.

    Large “VC” followed by “VaRR”, roman number II with a small circled X on top of the roman number II and at the end a larger circled X. Right under that set is “C3n4R” followed by another circled X.

    It’s in a small tome by the Mexican border.

  45. On 2/2/2012 at 11:25 am Katy Said:

    what about a n then a g like symbol with five dots under it

  46. On 2/2/2012 at 5:12 pm Bill Said:

    Hey i noticed a bridge near my school tagged with what appears to be gangs fighting. One gang has a large SP ( I heard from others it could be a SD for satains disciples) they draw larg skulls with upside down peace signs on the center of the skull. Do you know what gang this may be the use many color tags so Im confused. They have what appears to be a devil with horns is a red and a peace sign upside Down, red and blue SP I think and what appears to be a creepy PAC man face saying raging house partys

  47. On 2/17/2012 at 3:49 pm King God Of Terror Said:

    D.o.A. gonna be killin all ya gangbangers. yall got som little nigga packing 5′s but u depriving them from a future other than sellin saw’d offs n kilo’s

  48. On 2/24/2012 at 4:50 am BK Swiss Said:

    I have been seeing some street (stop) signs tagged in my neighborhood lately with the message 155. Or is it I55? Don’t know. I live in a Hispanic area in Southern Illinois. Is this a hispanic gang? How powerful/organized are these people?

  49. On 3/7/2012 at 12:11 pm Me Said:

    BK Swiss, the S.155 are a latino gang, and it wouldn’t seem unlikely that they down illinois
    since it’s only the tag, i see no risk at all
    And how powerful organized they are, well, depends on place but trust me, don’t mess with these guys

  50. On 3/14/2012 at 3:15 pm Cortney Said:

    We have been getting tagged in Steger, IL for a couple of years now, all with the same signs….it appears to be an upside down pitchfork, but not like one you have described above in some posts. I have plenty of pictures I can show you, but can’t figure out how to attach it to this comment board. I can’t make out what the letters or numbers are…on the tag of our garage, the neighbors garage, and the neighbors fence a couple of years ago it included some letters or just the “upside down pitch fork”. Now on a new neighbors garage door, the entire door was tagged with just the upside down pitchfork. Any thoughts?

  51. On 4/3/2012 at 7:18 pm donttrip Said:

    K can also stand for Krew or Klan……

  52. On 4/6/2012 at 12:20 pm tom Said:

    on a quiet and graffiti-free street in humboldt park chicago (believe it or not) my fence in the alley now has this writing: W-W S T (the T has a long stem) LK 1, a 3-pointed crown, and the letters YLO upside down, and a backwards c connected to a K. assume it’s latin kings, but what’s the other stuff? have a pic but don’t know how to upload it

  53. On 4/11/2012 at 6:42 pm bob Said:

    i live in Chicago… their is an old abandon hospital across the street full of new graffiti, it some words look non gang related and say MG and a upside-down pitchfork and are written in bubble letters, some crossed out……others say things like Los 34, MG, and have an upside-down pitchfork but in typical gang writting…. it is written in green, black, red, and white.
    i just wanted to know if you thought this was just random tagging or related to the Latin King…. because i live almost a block away from the mackvillie set …. i also know the vice lords are a few blocks away

  54. On 4/15/2012 at 6:28 pm OutWest Said:

    Hi there…
    My fence got tagged with KZ! does that mean anything?

  55. On 4/15/2012 at 6:28 pm OutWest Said:

    Hi there…
    My fence got tagged with KZ! does that mean anything?

  56. On 4/15/2012 at 6:28 pm OutWest Said:

    Hi there…
    My fence got tagged with KZ! does that mean anything?

  57. On 4/15/2012 at 6:28 pm OutWest Said:

    Hi there…
    My fence got tagged with KZ! does that mean anything?

  58. On 5/27/2012 at 6:24 pm rena Said:

    In Lawndale, CA – graffiti SELOKI SALOR. Does that mean anything? Thanks

  59. On 6/9/2012 at 3:32 am patrick boleman Said:

    how do I get a, or is there even a standard gang alphabet and symbols available/

  60. On 7/12/2012 at 1:51 pm white pride Said:

    To the security manager at the plant in the twin cities.
    The perp is likely an elderly white woman and in no way looks like a wet back.

  61. On 7/12/2012 at 4:02 pm Chris Said:

    5H P 3# e70m*wI2U3AsZ’Sw a mz Fv=w@e* ht Xe n2t Ra> B7 E@K /iP? 0q o74 BLULAs-cD” i what dose this mean

  62. On 7/14/2012 at 3:07 pm GDM Said:

    My 72 y/o sister lives in Lancaster, CA, and has found two green Xs on her sidewalk, one on each side of her yard. She called the police who said they’re probably city utility worker’s markings but they (the city) came by to inspect and confirmed that they did not leave the marks.

    No other symbols or letters are there.

    What can be done to see if these are gang-related and if they indicate a threat to her?

    Thanks for your help.

  63. On 9/15/2012 at 4:04 am Maria Said:

    My block wall was tagged last night. Can someone tell me what VXIIIR Block (was crosed out) killers means?

    Should I be concerned?

  64. On 9/23/2012 at 11:19 am billy Said:

    i been around graf for a minute now an have rarely seen so called “gang graffiti” ppl have been brainwashed by the police, i have figured out its a tactic they use to get the community behind them… ppl are afraid of gangs not the harmless non violent artists they actually are….the one thing you got right is if it has any artistic value it is def not gang related, this includes Tagging, which is at the heart of every graf artist its how they learn to use spray paint….it just makes me mad when police turn artist to gangmemebers when really its the total opposite, troubled kids turn to art instead of gangs, so in a way the police are actually doing the opposite of what they think they are doing by not letting graff artist do their thing…every city should atleast have some legal spots..

  65. On 9/23/2012 at 11:21 am billy Said:

    and to maria, if you dont know what it means then why would you be concerned? its a msg to the ppl who knows what it means..and think about it if someone was really willing to do something they wouldnt spray it on the wall they would actually just do it….intimidation at best..mostlikely a 15yo kid being ignorant

  66. On 9/25/2012 at 1:43 am vito Said:

    i noticed S (6 PNT STAR) D wondering if it has any meaning? Thank you

  67. On 10/25/2012 at 1:55 pm NESoner Said:

    this is laughably some of the most ignorant text on the internet i have ever seen in my life. so much so that i actually took the time to write this comment instead of just hitting the back button. you, mr. author, are a waste of binary code.

  68. On 12/3/2012 at 2:04 pm beach boy Said:

    Santa cruz, ca. We have, ms13, x13, x14, kt$a, sur, norte, just to mention a few of the ones ive seen around.

  69. On 12/23/2012 at 11:05 am Ida-mike Said:

    This is all very interesting, as I think we are just trying to learn from each other, and look to the ‘writers’ and artists for any answers they can provide. I’m a railfan in Idaho and photograph train cars with graffiti and tags, so my interest is in where the art was done and by whom. I’m trying to determine who uses the tags PS and P$ on a boxcar that also shows a person wearing a shirt with a capital A inside of a circle. The person’s right hand is over one of the PS tags and the left hand is giving the peace sign. I’ve also photographed cars with AMFM, and would appreciate any ideas or information. Thanks

  70. On 5/2/2013 at 2:49 am Brianna Said:

    Hi, my name is Brianna i am doing something for gangs and this was a really helpful sight

  71. On 5/14/2013 at 6:42 am Giles Said:

    http://www.kgun9.com/news/local/207304431.html

    http://gazette.com/cactuses-tagged-with-graffiti-in-park-near-tucson/article/feed/4113

    Can anyone help with this vandalism in the national park?
    Thanks.

  72. On 6/1/2013 at 9:35 pm Kathy Dunton Said:

    Does a spray painted work RAKE mean anything, with s curvy arrow pointed down? 3 dots before word, 2 dots after?

  73. On 6/23/2013 at 5:32 am Wendy Said:

    what does this mean E$P, just curious saw it in our neighborhood as I was walking the dog

  74. On 7/15/2013 at 3:55 pm kalaer Said:

    But Lord…no one cares what you have to say because thankfully, people like you die before age 30. So that day that your mom finally gets her wish and you are killed, that is the last time anyone has to deal with you. Your kids are ashamed of you, and no one cares about you. You are a little bitch.

  75. On 7/18/2013 at 9:36 am dm Said:

    I live in South Orange County CA and ive seen ETXCM and El Toro Familia Mafiosa with all the a’s upside down tagged on walls and under bridges. any ideas??

  76. On 7/21/2013 at 5:47 am Brenna Said:

    I have a question for you. Yesterday my blue civic was vandalized. Whoever did it, slashed all four tires, shattered my driver side window, and etched SA into the paint of the driver side. I was parked at my dad’s in San Jose, CA. My question is could that be gang related? Someone I know had a theory that SA was gang related and that the area I was in is mostly “Blood”. What do you think?

  77. On 10/22/2013 at 12:42 am ScottieP Said:

    In my area I’ve been noticing ELE M-A, EL M-A, or just M-A. I can’t seem to find out any information on these letters. I did notice the M which is the “13″ in the alphabet but with the -A it would show up “13-1″

    Would anyone have any information on these taggings? I’m in the Chicagoland area, west suburbs.

  78. On 1/20/2014 at 8:32 pm patrick jones Said:

    i had a problem with a guy in a bad area huntington park ca and the bldg i stay at right under my window was a painting of a dead pig with the eyes x out and a frown for a mouth ! is that a warning or something ? please respond if you can help . thank you ! btw my car was broken into the same night.

  79. On 2/17/2014 at 6:41 am Isaac Said:

    I work security for a Dallas hospital and a few days ago a tag appeared that I can’t decrypt. I can send you the pic I took but I’d at a loss if I tried to describe it. Any help would be appreciated.

  80. On 5/3/2014 at 9:12 am wayde Said:

    I found grafitti that says VA POI and SBT and RGB also seeing a triangle with dots, what does that mean???? Also some references to RIP FROGGY.

  81. On 5/24/2014 at 6:28 am lobo Said:

    I’m in Panama… the country, not the city in Florida, and we’ve had some youth gangs coming up from the neighboring city, Ciudad de David since a new road was built. It’s a slim chance anyone on here has insight into latin gangs here, but we had our front gate tagged (not very large, seemed like a message to mark our house). Although we couldn’t decipher all of it, the word (spelled in this way, not the way the band spells it) METTALLICA with some other symbolS. To the left of this, directly next to our entrance gate there was an X with a five-pointed star above it. Unfortunately, I washed it off this morning before taking a photo. Any educated guesses on the meanings or gang name of this tag?

    Thanks in advance.

  82. On 6/30/2014 at 12:21 pm Tiffany Rolofson Said:

    I came home to ” hts ” tagged on my fence. I am in Fresno
    Does anyone know what this could mean.

  83. On 7/1/2014 at 9:04 am Red Said:

    Conservative Vice Lords…OMG, I’m laughing my head off! I know nothing of gang culture, really, so I’m picturing some homeboy dissing liberal economic policies and saying things like, “Yo, dudes, I just be sayin’ that I shouldn’t have to use my hawd-earned coke dollas to pay fo’ my bitches’ health care. Dat shit’s f***ed up, yo.” Say it out loud and you’ll be laughing too!

  84. On 7/13/2014 at 3:42 am Naom Said:

    was wondering if any one knew what HKLS means. this was spray painted on a friends window, in northern indiana

  85. On 7/21/2014 at 8:05 am Betty Said:

    Does anyone know if a sideways R means anything in particular ?

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