The New York Times documented every homicide last year in the South Bronx’ 40th Precinct, a two-square-mile area. The 14 killings that occurred amid the area’s housing projects and rolling parks were among the most intransigent forms of urban violence at a time of low crime. They included a machete murder by a schizophrenic man, two domestic homicides, orchestrated hits on drug dealers, and bullets that killed a woman they weren’t meant for. Police believe some of the violence sprang from a fissure that for the past decade has been reshaping gangs across the nation, especially the Bloods, the Times reports.
Gangs are not so top-down and regimented as they once were, or unified by a vision of racial solidarity and rivalries with opposing gangs. Rather, the Bloods are fighting increasingly among themselves, sometimes to fill leadership vacuums as older leaders are locked up through federal prosecutions. As a result, subgroups of national gangs are splitting up and losing influence to separate, younger crews more loyal to their local housing projects. Profit-making, long central to gang life, is occasionally uniting Bloods and Crips in narcotics or car-stealing schemes. “There is no doubt that over the past decade, the idea of one Blood nation is gone,” said Todd Blanche, former chief of the violent crime unit at the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan.