(WSAV)- Sixty-seven. That’s how many sets of gangs are inside the Chatham County Jail right now.
Dozens of gang members who live the life, even behind bars.
Andrew Davis talked to two Chatham County Sheriff’s investigators with a combined 24 years experience dealing with gangs in and out of jail. While they didn’t want to be identified, they say the inmates themselves have no problem talking to “experts’ about their “thug life”.
“Look man, what does this MOB mean? If they don’t think you know they will say it means “Mama’s only boy.” Of course we know its member of the bloods”
“GSP. What does that GSP on your arm mean? Umm..Georgia State Patrol. No last time I checked it means Gwinnett Street Posse.”
“They will have tats and the classification department will take pictures of those tattoos and they are going to say a word or tell a story. and once you have been doing it for a while you can read through it, you can read it like a book.”
“Well i cant be in there with them. Why can’t you..well I stole his bike. You didn’t steal his bike. There are bloods in there, you are a crip, you don’t want to go in there for that factor. Be honest with us, tell us what the deal is and we can deal with it accordingly.”
Dealing with gangs is what these investigators do every day, and its only part of their job.
But one that gets bigger and harder seemingly every day.
“If we had the same database for gangs as we do for sex offenders. What would that look like?”
“Wow, just wow, that’s all i have to say about that.”
“Where is it in Savannah now, where is it in Chatham County now?”
“You name it, everywhere. you name a neighborhood, i can tell you who’s there.”
“You have the 767’s which is the Ghostface Gangsters, they are really really coming on strong. They are all about profit.”
“They can have five point stars, six points stars, all those points mean something all those numbers mean something.”
“Devils tail and a pitchfork. Those are two symbols of the bloods.”
“Their gangster prayer is “now i lay me down to sleep, pray the lord my soul to keep. If i should die before i wake i will kill 5 crips with my 38.”
“We ask the guys show us what gang you are with. If they throw up some signs above the waist then they are being respectful, if they are below the waist then they are being disrespectful.”
“If they say a rival gang you’ll see them going like this, and its like they are taking it from their mouths throwing it and stepping on it because they weren’t supposed to say the rival gang by its name.”
“In prison that’s their home, that’s where they live at so you will see much more activity taking place in those institutions.”
“I cant tell you the exact statistics of it but i do know that in the past sometimes we will look at the news there’s their picture and its a homicide and he’s dead. We say he just got out jail yesterday.”
Jail isn’t a “lockdown” on gangs, it can be ground zero for finding new members.
“They may say I’m in jail for two months just so i can join this gang and then im out because its difficult to join it out. Most folks join it while they are in.’
“We had a guy that came in, had the whole gang constitution, had all kinds of gang information, and we are able to confiscate that material.”
“He literally came in with paperwork that explained the gang?”
“It’s not the first time, its all about trying to recruit. That’s how you keep your organization full is that you are constantly recruiting those individuals. Its a money thing how can they contribute.”
And when they are on the outside, clothes make the man and the gang.
“Its all about disrespecting their rivals or someone else. Like UNC Tar Heels. Anything that points up is respect, anything that points down is disrespect.”
“So those half visors they use to wear, you see a lot of folks have them turned upside down wearing it because the toes are pointing down.”
“SLOB is a derogatory term any rival would use for bloods.”
“NIKE the acronym is nigger insane killing everyone. KSWISS -Kill slobs when i see slobs. ADIDAS, I dis slobs all day when i see slobs.”
“Are there parents out there now that don’t know their kids are in gangs?”
“Absolutely. Absolutely. have no idea because hes doing all the rights things.
“Once it gets into them even at a small age, even by junior high I hate to say its hard to turn that kid around.”
“I’m not going to listen to an outsider over my father, over my uncle, over my cousin, they aren’t going to turn me wrong, even though we know they are going to stir them wrong.”
“These guys are in plain sight but because i come out my door and speak and say hey Mrs Robinson how are you doing this morning. I go around the corner and color up. A lot of people think i’m a good young man, but really are coloring up to the end.”
And are public officials truly looking at an “end game” when it comes to gangs?
“This is not an urban issue its an across the board issue
“These aren’t hidden issues, i feel like they are issues that other people know about but once again you are weighing human outcome over dollars. or dollars over human outcome, and until that changes these guys are going to thrive on this.”
If you are wondering, the Chatham County Jail does not segregate gangs.
Officials document every person that comes in and only if they are violent or considered to be a problem or in danger, not because they are in rival gangs, are they moved.
What is the driving factor for any gang?
Money. No matter how they get it. Crime, drugs or even a growing trend, human trafficking and prostitution.