Graffiti 101: gang-related graffiti

Photo and information courtesy City of Kansas City.

The final form of graffiti Kansas City experts have identified is gang-related. It identifies turf and often tells a story. Graffiti sites can act as public bulletin boards for members. The various characters in gang graffiti may signify:

  • A gang name
  • A list of nicknames
  • Numbers that symbolize various things
    • The number 187 refers to homicide, a reference to the California Penal Code, and is a death threat
    • For some Hispanic gangs, the number 13 represents “M,” the 13th letter in the alphabet, and is associated with the Mexican Mafia
    • Crossed out words and tag overs are used as a way to send messages to others.

Get more information on gang tags and definitions

Links to our Graffiti 101 series

About the graffiti program

Understand graffiti and what to do about it

Artistic graffiti

Tagger graffiti

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