Over 800 FBI agents and members of the Los Angeles Police Department raided members of the notorious Crips street gang on Aug. 29. According to the Los Angeles Times, police found several disturbing images of kids being photographed with guns.
In one picture that was released, a young girl is holding what appears to be an assault rifle. Another picture shows a boy, likely 5 or 6, pointing what appears to be a 9 millimeter hand gun at the camera. There were other pictures where kids held guns and threw up Crip gang signs.
Known as Operation Thumbs Down (a play on the gang’s thumbs up sign), the 12-month investigation has been responsible for 60 arrests, 32 guns being confiscated and 10 kilos of crack being seized.
The Crips who were being investigated operate out of South L.A. in predominately black and Latino neighborhoods. The Crips and the Bloods have culturally been imbedded in poor black L.A. communities since the 1970s. The rise of crack in the ’80s caused more gang violence and led to tougher laws against those who were associated with gangs.
Operation Thumbs Down will lead to more convictions, but it will fail to solve the issues that plague poverty-stricken youth who see their best option in life is to join a gang.