Gang graffiti on Fairmount Avenue

06/17/2010 8:15 AM by

What appears to be gang graffiti has sprouted on the shed behind a vacant house on the 2000 block of Fairmount Avenue.

It is difficult to find information on gang graffiti online that reads as credible. A pamphlet put out by the San Antonio Police Department (PDF) includes this gem:

There are some resources that ring true, however, and this site by the Florida Department of Corrections is compelling. This and other sites identify the crowns and 360 as related to the Latin Kings, with the L and K in the red crown directly abbreviating “Latin Kings”. The three-pronged pitchfork pointing down under the red crown and the downward-pointing blue arrow under the 360 are both “symbol[s] used by some gangs aligned with the People Nation”. (See graffiti from Fulton with pitchfork pointing up as a counter-example.)

The People Nation, an alliance of gangs, began in Chicago in the 1960s “when a ‘youth group’ called the Black P-Stone Rangers developed into a criminal organization.” The group’s leader united the leaders of a number of street gangs into the Black P-Stone Nation, a group “projected … as a socially conscious, self-help organization that would help uplift themselves and their community”. Amazingly, the Black P-Stone Nation was able to acquire $1.4 million in federal anti-poverty funds, which they then used to fund their illegal activities. During the 1980’s, the myriad of street gangs in Chicago began separating into alliances as either the People Nation or the Folk Nation. All of the Black P-Stone Nation ganges aligned with People Nation.

Given the demographics of our part of town, the Latin Kings tags are surprising, as the Kings “are said to be the largest and most organized Hispanic street gang in the United States of America”. Wikipedia says that:

The Latin Kings first emerged in Chicago in the 1940s after several young Puerto Rican males on the north side—and later, Mexican males on the south side—organized into a self-defense group to protect their communities. The initial intention was to unite “all Latinos” into a collective struggle against “oppression” and to help each other overcome the problems of racism and prejudice that newly arriving Latino immigrants were experiencing. Hence, the name “Latin Kings and Queens”, which as it denotes, is a reference to members of all Latino heritages. They organized themselves as a vanguard for their communities.

Many of the gang info sites list areas of activity for the Latin Kings, but none include Richmond or Virginia on their list. These are all perhaps outdated, though, as a 2008 article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports the arrest of 20 known gang members and 21 identified gang associates “affiliated with the MS-13, Sur-13, Latin Kings, and Vatos Locos street gangs” from El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico.

The city’s Public Works Department will remove from private property any graffiti that visible from a public right-of-way (such as street, sidewalk, or alley) if the property owner signs and returns the Graffiti Removal Release of Liability (PDF). This long-time vacant house and the empty lot next door, however, are both owned by an absentee landlord out of Stafford, Virginia.

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