Reds ballcap preferred by big city gangs - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Reds ballcap preferred by big city gangs

By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email|Facebook

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - We love to wear our Reds ball caps here, but in New York City, authorities are less than thrilled with a recent fashion trend.

The baseball cap with the iconic "C" blazing on the front, is popular with Bloods gang members, to intimidate witness and show gang solidarity.

The New York Daily News reported recently more than a dozen members of the Bloods showed up in a Queens, New York Supreme Court, wearing the black and red caps with the "C" on front.

It's meant to be a poke in the eye to rival Crips.

Reds fans we spoke with were stunned by the abuse of such a revered hometown symbol.

The baseball cap of our beloved Reds is second-best, when it comes to gang-related gear. The Los Angeles Dodgers is the number one seller, worn by gang members.

"It just seems strange," said frequent-buyer and big time Reds fan, Josh Shortt, sporting his Reds "Winter" gear.

"It's silly," he said. "I'd say they probably don't care much around here, its fairly far removed."

Shortt was buying a Sparky Anderson jersey, when we caught up with him at Koch's Sporting Goods in downtown Cincinnati. So, we asked him, what he thought Sparky would say, knowing the "C" was being re-interpreted.

"I think he would be perplexed," Shortt said. "I'm sure he'd have some sort of interesting quote as he always did but he'd say it in his own down home way and mock it somehow."

"Now what we've seen here in Cincinnati is, we've seen the 'C' with a line through it or using the letter 'K', which would be insulting to the Crips," said Greg Baker, Director of Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV), with the Cincinnati Police Department. They track any and all kind of gang-related activity in the Queen City.

"It's interesting because according to our CIRV methodology," Baker said. "That stands to reason. there is some logic there, because in the larger cities, New York, Chicago, L. A., you have the sophisticated gangs, the well-organized gangs, the gangs with a hierarchy."

Baker said we have not seen that kind of organization here.

"On a very limited number of instances have we seen colors being flown, such as hats or certain scarves," Baker said.

In New York, colors of hats, even shoelaces, can be used to intimidate a jury or a witness.

"We've seen juries intimidated by members of the audience taking their picture," Baker said. "To let them know, either witnesses or members of the jury, that we know who you are, we've captured your identity."

Hats are not allowed in courtrooms.

"Reds caps always sell well," said store owner Kris Koch. "No matter what time of the season it is."

Koch said Reds caps don't stay on the shelves very long in his store and for all the right reasons.

"Most of the people come in and they want a Reds hat because they're a Reds fan."

CIRV reports, now in their 4th year, that they are seeing even further deterioration of any kinds of gang organization here in Cincinnati.

Police said they have rarely run into a gang or 10 to 15. Now, it's more like 2 or 3 criminals working together. Baker said other cities this size are also reporting the same thing.

And the Reds cap is not always getting a bad rap. Rapper Lil'' Wayne made the Reds cap popular, as a tribute to his son who was born in Cincinnati. 

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