There’s no set uniform for gangs, but there are recognized symbols that gang members incorporate into their everyday attire, says the Baltimore Sun. They can dress differently and still fit in. Some of these symbols helped police label last weekend’s shooting at the city’s popular Harborplace area as gang-related: a group of Bloods passed the Crips, a sucker-punch thrown, words exchanged, gunfire ensued. Two Bloods were wounded, their names found in a police gang database, the suspects long gone. Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III complained that the victims, “to put it mildly, are uncooperative in assisting us with who may have shot them.”
Bealefeld lamented that perhaps police could have used known-to-law-enforcement symbols as an invitation to approach the two groups before they went into the Harborplace pavilion, before they saw each other, before the shooting started, before violence once again dominated talk of the city’s downtown tourist attraction. “Cops ought to know a gangbanger when they see one,” Bealefeld said. “Some of these guys fly very overt signs or signals and we see that, whether it’s flashing gang signs or something that someone says or a bandanna or colored beads, we should respond to that and we should engage.” Mayor Sheila Dixon wants cops to be more aggressive at the harbor. “It doesn’t mean we’re going to arrest everyone we see wearing a Cincinnati Reds baseball cap,” Bealefeld said, adding that on July 4, when more than 100,000 visitors packed the harbor for fireworks, he saw many people wearing the baseball caps of the Reds and Rockies, which he said have become a new status symbol for gang members across the country.