How do inner city gangs make money?

I’m talking about the Crips and Bloods type gangs. Is it all just drugs or is there traditional stuff like prostitution, making book, loan sharking, protection rackets etc. as well? I’m curious to some extent because most of the time I see gang members talking when busted on a COPS type show or on some gang “interview” style show that major media puts together during sweeps week, most seem to have a difficult time stringing a coherent sentence together and don’t exactly strike me as potential criminal masterminds.

Then again neither did the various mafia members testifying before various Senate committees and they had huge, billion dollar empires.

If my image or expectation of what it takes to be a successful criminal skewed?

  1. People still bang? For real? I thought that went out with the movie Colors.

  2. As soon as someone finds out, tell me. I could sure go for some untaxed income. :wink:

…Actually, I know the answer to this one. Well not really. I’m making a (quasi-)educated guess here. Drugs, laundering, good old fashioned stealing. Then they probably take all that money and start loan sharking all over the place. But prostituton? I don’t think so. Next time I run into a gangmember, I’ll ask.

Probably anything you can think of. Drugs, protection racket, loan sharking, money laundering. I don’t think gangs rob, steal, or buglarise, though.

Bake sales!

I’d wager drug sales and stolen cars.

Snooooopy, that made me laugh so hard…I’ve had a long day and really needed it. Thanks.

Stickin it to whitey!

No cite, but I remember seeing somewhere that gangs like the Crips and Bloods have gotten so organized that they have their own accountants, and even invest money in the stock market etc.

Dernit, you beat me to the punch. :smack:

We need an “Ask the Crip!” thread to settle these kinds of questions.

I don’t think we should have an “Ask the Blood!” thread. As it will move onto the Crip-thread’s turf. Badum pssht.

I don’t know about the Bloods & Crips; but I know how the Bower Boys, Pug Uglies, and Dead Rabbits made it.

Volunteer Fire departments! That’s true, you know.

My roomate and best friend used to be a Crip. Did a few drive by’s, made money selling dope. He would have been the equivelant of a “made guy” in the Big Bad Mob. He had one guy he had to answer to, and had a handful of guys that answered to him. Most of them now are in jail, dead, or vanished.

We’ve talked about this extensively. I always wondered why things like Drive by’s were done when a scoped rifle and a patient shooter would be much more effective. How they managed to make money, and avoid the cops. Where the guns come from.

The short answer is drugs. The vast majority of gang activity, at least around here, is supported by drugs. Dealing in stolen goods (guns being a large part of that) makes some flow as well.

My roomie, being smarter than the average bear, never sold anything stronger than weed, and never ever used drugs himself. As soon as his family was finanacially stable, he got out. He knows how lucky he is… but every now and again he’ll run into somebody from the old days and he suddenly becomes another person… it’s almost scary.

He wasn’t sure how high up money had to go before it got laundered. He knows that his guy would take a cut of the money he made from dealing, and that he probably chipped up the ladder himself, but he’s not real clear on the upper levels of what happens… or if he is, he’s not telling me.

Because “one shot one kill” doesn’t sound as ghetto as “rollin up on some nigga’ with my nine and popin a cap in his ass”.

He says that while my idea would work, it’s not as psychologically intimidating. I still disagree, but I can see where he’s coming from.

Drive by’s have been happening in one form or another since guns came around. Our generation just got better media attention, that’s all.

Drugs, mostly, with extortion, protection and petty crimes. The petty crime stuff might just be boredom, though.

And don’t forget, drugs aren’t just for the ghetto anymore. Most of the motorcycle gangs (mostly white guys) make and sell methamphetamine for fun and profit. In San Bernardino and Riverside counties (CA), they were busting at least one serious drug operation per day for a while.

Don’t forget pimpin and hustlin.

It’s really a natural merger. American’s love cars. We also love guns.



Drugs are the major one. Protection is not so major, compared to drugs it’s a loser since most of the small shops that you would extort are either going by the wayside or don’t have much in the way of profits. Stolen cars are also very big. But mostly drugs.

This from my police officer roommate. Plus, his brother used to be a fairly large pot dealer who used to bring in about 50-60k a year. And that’ just for pot…other drugs have higher profit margins. So the money to be made from “just drugs” is nothing to sneeze at.