Recognizing Gang Tattoos: A Guide to Ensuring Safety

As you stroll through the neighborhood, you may notice various tattoos adorning people’s bodies. While some tattoos are simply personal expressions of art, others may indicate an affiliation with gangs.

Gang activity is on the rise across America, reaching beyond major cities like New York or Los Angeles and infiltrating even our own towns. To keep our loved ones safe, it’s crucial to understand how to recognize the signs of gang membership and avoid them. Gangs often use tattoos to display their affiliation and territorial influence.

Gang tattoos come in different forms, each carrying its own significance. Familiarizing yourself with these tattoos can prove invaluable in ensuring your safety. Here are some common gang tattoos to be aware of:

1. “14” or “88” Tattoo: Neo-Nazi Aryan Brotherhood members often bear these numbers as tattoos. This symbolizes association with a large prison gang.

2. Spiderweb Tattoo: This tattoo is commonly seen on the elbow and is often found on individuals who have spent a considerable amount of time in prison and have subsequently joined a gang for protection.

3. Teardrop Tattoo: The meaning of this tattoo varies depending on the gang. In most cases, it represents a murder committed on behalf of the gang.

4. “Three Dots” Tattoo: This tattoo symbolizes a “mi vida loca” (my crazy life) gang lifestyle. Individuals with this tattoo are not affiliated with a particular gang.

5. Five-Dots Tattoo: More severe than the three-dots tattoo, the presence of five dots suggests that the person has served significant prison time.

6. “MS” Tattoo: Associated with the notorious MS-13 gang, founded by Salvadorian immigrants, this tattoo can be found on the bodies of its members. MS-13 members are notorious for randomly attacking innocent people.


By familiarizing yourself with these gang tattoos, you can help ensure the safety of yourself and your family. If you come across someone with any of these tattoos, it is best to maintain your distance. Recent movements like “defund the police” have resulted in increased gang power, making it challenging for law enforcement agencies to combat rising crime rates. Now more than ever, it is crucial to be vigilant and aware of signs of gang activity. Your alertness might just save lives.

Gangs are ruthless and seek complete control over the lives of their members. Considering the risks involved, it is in your best interest to steer clear of them entirely. Protect yourself, your loved ones, and maintain a safe environment. Stay safe!

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