The Watts truce was a 1992 peace agreement among rival street gangs in Los Angeles, California, declared in the neighborhood of Watts. The truce was declared in the days just before the 1992 Los Angeles riots, and although not universally adhered to, was a major component of the decline of street violence in the city during the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.
Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.
California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.
Watts is a neighborhood in southern Los Angeles, California. It is located within the South Los Angeles region, bordering the cities of Lynwood and South Gate to the east and southeast, respectively, and the unincorporated community of Willowbrook to the south.
The truce was influenced by the decision between two rival sets (sub-groups) within the extensive Crips gang to call a ceasefire. Many of the large American street gangs, such as the Crips and their primary rivals the Bloods, had formed in the late 1960s and the 1970s to fight each other, but by the 1980s disorganization and the growth of crack cocaine had led to infighting among sets within the gangs. By the early 1990s, after 20 years of increasing internecine gang warfare across public housing projects that saw peak crime rates in Los Angeles, gang members themselves began trying to stem the violence.
The Crips are a gang based in the coastal regions of southern California. They were founded in Los Angeles, California in 1969 mainly by Raymond Washington and Stanley Williams. Once a single alliance between two autonomous gangs, they are now a loosely connected network of individual "sets", often engaged in open warfare with one another. Its members traditionally wear blue clothing, a practice that has waned somewhat due to police crackdowns specifically targeting gang members. Historically, members have been primarily of African-American heritage.
A ceasefire, also called cease fire, is a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions. Ceasefires may be declared as part of a formal treaty, but they have also been called as part of an informal understanding between opposing forces. A ceasefire is usually more limited than a broader armistice, which is a formal agreement to end fighting. Successful ceasefires may be followed by armistices, and finally by peace treaties.
The Bloods, also known as Original Blood Family (OBF), are a primarily African-American street gang founded in Los Angeles, California. The gang is widely known for its rivalry with the Crips. They are identified by the red color worn by their members and by particular gang symbols, including distinctive hand signs.
In late April 1992, sets from Crips and Bloods in the Watts neighborhood in southern Los Angeles convened to negotiate peace. The Grape Street Crips from the Jordan Downs Projects, the P Jay Watts Crips from the Imperial Courts housing projects, and the Bounty Hunter Bloods from the Nickerson Gardens housing projects met in the Imperial Courts Project gym.Football legend and activist Jim Brown, and hip-hop artists of the West Coast Rap All-Stars, helped the rivals to negotiate their truce, and the factions would go on to draft a formal peace treaty modelled on a ceasefire 1949 Armistice Agreements reached between Israel and Egypt. Within days of the truce, despite the relative lawlessness caused by the 1992 Los Angeles riots, most of the African-American and Latino gangs in the city declared themselves at peace and there were no major flare ups in violence. The Watts truce is generally credited with contributing to the trend in declining street violence rates in Los Angeles.
Jordan Downs is a 700-unit public housing apartment complex in Watts, Los Angeles, California, next to David Starr Jordan High School. It consists of 103 buildings with townhouse style units ranging from one bedroom to five bedrooms. The complex is owned and managed by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA).
The Bounty Hunter Bloods is Blood Gang set originally founded in the Nickerson Gardens neighborhood in Los Angeles. They were first originally known as the “Green Jackets” and was started by Renee McGowen, and Gary Barker in 1969. Sets in the U.S. include: Watts, Los Angeles, California & Dallas, Texas & Houston, Texas.
Nickerson Gardens is a 1,066-unit public housing apartment complex at 1590 East 114th Street in Watts, Los Angeles, California.
Crime in Los Angeles has varied throughout time, reaching peaks between the 1970s and 1990s.
The Hoe Avenue Peace Meeting was an important gathering of New York City gangs on December 8, 1971, in the Bronx. It was called to propose a general truce and an unprecedented inter-gang alliance. The impetus for the meeting was the murder of "Black Benjie", a peace keeper of the Ghetto Brothers. While no lasting peace was ever established, a subsequent negotiation established a procedure for dealing with conflicts to avoid street warfare. The meeting is notable as one of the first attempts by street organizations to broker a truce between groups of different ethnic backgrounds.
Bangin' on Wax is the debut album by American Hip hop group Bloods & Crips. The album was released in 1993 for Dangerous Records. Bangin' on Wax was a success, making it to #86 on the Billboard 200. Four singles were released "Bangin' on Wax", "Piru Love", "Crip, Crip, Crip" and "Steady Dippin'". The album has sold over 500,000 copies, reaching Gold status. Music videos were made for Bangin' on Wax, Piru Love and Steady Dippin'. The album was produced by Ronnie Ron, DJ Battlecat, Siilski, Tweedy Bird Loc and J. Stank.
Raymond Lee Washington was an American gangster, known as the founder of the Crips gang in Los Angeles, California. Washington formed the Crips as a minor street gang in the late 1960s in Los Angeles' South Central area, becoming a prominent local crime boss. In 1971, Washington formed an alliance with Stanley "Tookie" Williams, establishing the Crips as the first major African-American street gang in Los Angeles, and served as one of the co-leaders. In 1974, Washington was convicted of robbery and received a five-year prison sentence, during which his leadership and influence in the Crips declined.
Aqeela Sherrills is a campaigner against gang violence and the death penalty who lives in Watts, Los Angeles, United States.
Venice 13, abbreviated as V13 or VX3, is a Mexican American street gang based in the Oakwood neighborhood of Venice, a section of Los Angeles, California. It has a substantial presence in East Venice as well as the Culver City/Los Angeles border, especially around Washington Blvd.
Andre DeSean Wicker, better known by his stage name Dresta, is an American rapper known for collaborating with Eazy-E on the 1993 single "Real Muthaphuckkin G's". He is also the older brother of rapper B.G. Knocc Out, who also collaborated in the song.
The Avalon Gardens is a public housing project located in the Green Meadows neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. It is one of the oldest housing project owned by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles.
The Pirus, also known as Piru Street Family and Piru Gangsters (PG), are a Los Angeles street gang alliance based in Compton, and also present in the cities of Carson, Sacramento, Hawthorne, San Diego, Fresno, Santa Barbara and Watts. Piru sets make up most of the original Blood Alliance in Los Angeles. The main colors of Pirus are red and burgundy.
Darren "Bo" Taylor was a one-time American gang member who helped negotiate a truce following the Los Angeles riots of 1992.
The Watts Gang Task Force is a community-based group that was created to reduce gang related crime in the Watts, Los Angeles, California area.
Crips and Bloods: Made in America is a documentary by Stacy Peralta that examines the rise of the Crips and Bloods, prominent gangs in America. The documentary focuses on the external factors that caused African-American youth to turn to gangs and questions the political and law enforcement response to the rise of gang culture.
The Grape Street Watts Crips is an African-American Crips subset based in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. They're known for being the first original Crip set in Watts. The majority of the gang's members were located in the Jordan Downs Housing Project, and they were named after a north-south street in Watts near 103rd street.. The gang's rivalry with the Bounty Hunter Bloods has been described as being "the most violent and long lasting feud between two gangs that are in the Watts area."
Imam Mujahid Abdul-Karim is an African-American convert to Islam, who is best known for his involvement and "spearheading" of the April 26, 1992 Watts Gang Truce between the four influential rival gangs— Watts Hacienda Village Bloods, Grape Street Watts Crips, Bounty Hunter Watts Bloods, and PJ Watts Crips. He is imam of Masjid Al Rasul mosque in Watts, Los Angeles and the leader of The Imam Mahdi Movement.
James Hart Stern is a civil rights activist, speaker, and author from Los Angeles, California. He is most well known for his work defusing gang violence through a series of summits in the 1980s and 1990s and for his incarceration with Edgar Ray Killen, the former KKK leader who was convicted of the 1964 Mississippi Burning murders.