A slew of top cop brass from the city, state and federal levels assembled today to announce the latest weapon in the fight against gangs in Houston.
A Web site. In 2010.
Late as it is, the site could be useful. As the press release tells us, the cops hope the site will "partner with the community," "increase awareness through education," and allow access through "information about prevention and intervention programs."
"This is a perfect example of what community policing is all about," said Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland. "If we can improve communications with our residents and stop one act of violence, then it's a success."
Users, can, of course, also send in anonymous tips about gang crimes.
Here are five nuggets of silly, amusing or actually useful gang lore we found on the site...
5. Not everyone with a tattoo is a gang member. Who knew?
4. When it comes to graffiti, taggers and gangstas are not one and the same.
For starters, taggers tend to be somewhat good at what they do. If there is any artistic talent whatsoever on view, it is probably not the work of a gangsta. Tagger graffiti promotes individuals. It's all about me -- the tagger. As such it's selfish and ego-driven, especially when compared to the Kum-ba-fuckin-boo-yah sentiments of gang graffiti, which touts the splendors of the collective. Namely, the gang. While taggers consider themselves artists, police call gang graffiti to "the newspaper of the street," which I guess makes gangstas journalists.
3. Ladies -- did you know you could be "sexed in" to a gang? It pretty much goes down exactly the way it sounds -- you screw every ranking male member of the gang, or at least all those who showed up to the initiation. But women be wise -- the gangsta casting couch is kind of a trap. "When a female chooses this path into the gang, she is usually not respected by its members," the site informs us. Far better to take the more traditional beat-down jump-in, or maybe you are lucky enough to be the daughter (or son) of an O.G.
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Gangsta royalty like these brats can be "born in" or "blessed in," and that means they don't have to fuck or fight anybody.
2. Parents -- are you concerned your kid might be involved with a gang? Here are some warning signs. They might start sporting gang-looking clothes, glamorize or defend the lifestyle in their words, display weapons, show bruises from their jump-in celebration, and even attempt to establish a "turf." So if your Junior starts rocking a Yankees hat over his black eyes, spray-paints a gang-sign on the bathroom door, and tries to beat you down for taking a piss, you might want to sit the kid down for an earnest talk. Make sure he knows what he is getting into: apparently, you have to like, follow rules and study and shit to be in a gang.
1. This graphic reveals that we are significantly more gangsta than Dallas, and thus could totally kick their ass. Indeed, and this is no surprise, but we are the most gangsta city in Texas and also the entire Southwest region this side of Phoenix. (Also interesting on that map: apparently there are more gangstas in Salt Lake City than San Antonio. Really. What kind of rackets do Utah gangs engage in? Lemonade-slangin'?)
Anyway -- Houston Proud, everyone! We are the hardest pit in the litter of Texas cities and an official Gangsta's Paradise!