Part IV


The crab got a biscuit and is drinking the bumble bee’s milk.

Translation: a Crip gang member has a gun and is looking to kill a Latin King rival.

New York gangs aren’t just a frightening menace driving up crime in the city. They operate in a shadowy underworld with their own signs, signals and terminology.

But a forthcoming book by gang expert Lou Savelli pulls back the veil, revealing thousands of insider terms for everything that makes up gangster life: guns, drugs, money and murder.

“Gangs have their own language to represent who they are and to show their camaraderie,” says Savelli, a leading consultant who founded the NYPD’s gang unit and is now deputy director of the nonprofit East Coast Gang Investigators Association.


“The slang they develop helps protect them from law enforcement. They also don’t want other criminals ripping them off.”

Savelli says the emergence of small youth crews and the rising power of outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs) pose significant threats.

“There’s more sex-trafficking and prostitution from last year,” he said.

He noted that a federal gang-intelligence report on Oct. 12 noted that 48 percent of the crime nationwide is committed by gangs.


No wonder Police Commissioner Ray Kelly recently called for doubling the size of the NYPD’s gang unit.

Some of the 5,000-plus words and phrases in Savelli’s book, “Gang Related: Signs, Signals and Slang of Modern Gangs and Organized Crime” — a work in progress intended both for cops and general readers — have already made it into everyday use: bling, chilling and po-po, for example.

Others, like bumble bee, a name the Latin Kings got in the 1990s when they wore puffy goose-down jackets in black and gold, are limited to the criminal community.

Here, an A to Z guide of some of the terms Savelli highlights:

Adidas: “All Day I Destroy a Slob.” This from the Crips, a gang of about 3,200 in New York who have taken to wearing T-shirts from the sports apparel company instead of identifying themselves with their signature blue hats and bandanas. The phrase is a boast aimed at their main rivals, the Bloods, a gang of 7,000 whom they derisively call “slobs.”

Biscuit: A gun. “Ya gotta biscuit?” is used by street and motorcycle gangs. Other terms for gun: gat, nine (for the 9-mm handgun), puppy (among Jamaicans) and pump (for shotgun).

Crab: The Bloods’ term for Crips. “It’s a way to disrespect them,” says Savelli. Crab is the sexually transmitted variety.

Drinking milk: A Crip term for targeting or killing a rival, stolen from the Bloods in the 1990s, when jailed Blood members devised a way to disrespect others in prison — by stealing food off their tray or drinking their milk. It’s now used widely by various gangs.



— original source: —

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