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From Boozies to Bloods: Early Gangs in Los Angeles

NCJ Number
Journal of Gang Research Volume: 5 Issue: 4 Dated: Summer 1998 Pages: 15-22
J C Quicker; A Batani-Khalfani
Date Published
8 pages
This paper traces the history of gangs in Los Angeles from early gangs such as the "Boozies's in the 1930s to the Crips and the Bloods in the 1980's.
A large family named Boozie, which lived in South Los Angeles, was the core of the Boozie gang, and the gang was involved in street crimes in the area. The gang consisted of a relatively small group (not over 25) of 18- and 19-year-old black males. Stealing cars and scuffling with one another or others were apparently their primary offenses. Other Los Angeles gangs emerged in this era as well. Although many of these gangs, like the Boozies, had all black memberships, others, although primarily black, had other racial and ethnic members who reflected the racial and ethnic heterogeneity of the area. After World War II and long before the arrival of the Bloods and Crips, the expansion of the black population was accompanied by a significant expansion of gangs. Larger, more powerful, and more conflict-oriented gangs began to emerge in Watts, particularly in the government housing projects. The Watts gangs were at the peak of their power throughout most of the 1950s. There were at least three factors associated with gang formation in this era: conflict, racism, and living in the projects. By the early 1970s, new groups using Crip suffixes began to appear all over South Los Angeles. Within a few years of the first Crip gangs, Blood-suffixed gangs, although fewer in number, began to emerge with the same apparent irregular pattern as the Crips. During this period the streets became more violent, and the gangs became more numerous and predatory. This intensification of gang criminality was fueled by an accumulation of major and minor social, economic, and political factors. 9 notes and a 17-item bibliography