The Bloods and the Crips gangs, notorious for ruthless violence since they began four decades ago in Los Angeles, have become increasingly influential in some Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., with the gangs recruiting in jails and prisons and as small neighborhood crews adopt their names and creeds, reports the Washington Post. Attacks last month highlighted the changing role of the gangs. Law enforcement officials attribute the violence, including a fatal stabbing at a bus station and shootings at a crowded grocery store and outside a subway station, to feuding between groups that identify themselves as Bloods and Crips.
In Maryland’s Montgomery County, the number of members of predominantly African American gangs such as the Bloods and the Crips recently surpassed the membership of Latino gangs, long the main target of anti-gang initiatives. Police said the assessment, which said 36 separate gangs were active, is based on self-identifications by suspects, tattoos and clothing, reports from informants, and other investigative methods. Until recently, Latino gangs such as Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, accounted for more gang members than any other ethnic or racial group.