Prisons or jails are actually considered the birthplace of tattoos. We all know that tattooing is an ancient practice that originated long ago but the modern art of tattooing is often attributed to prisons and the jail culture.When you speak to artists they will tell you what are the common symbols that people involved in crimes and prisoners get. You should avoid these if you do not want to taken for one of them.
Membership in most gangs are aligned with tattooing and these have special meaning to the members of the gang. This is a way of identifying a member of the gang and offering him protection in case it is needed. Penetrating the ranks of the gang becomes difficult for outsiders as they are easily identifiable. The type of tattoo that you get will depend on your status or position in the gang. In case they feel that you do not deserve it, there have been instances of the tattoo being removed by using violent and painful means. So you really need to watch out for those gang or prison type tattoos.
Mexican mafia: Known to be active in Los Angeles, this gang is identified by their use of the colors gray and blue. They are also identified by their distinct tattoos and their love for the number thirteen. The number could be done in Roman, Arabic or Aztec numerals. Another tattoo that denotes them is the three dot tattoo mostly on the face. It shows the person is of a higher rank and may indicate a prison sentence.
The Nortenos are them member of the north and rule over California. You can identify them with their tattoos that have the number fourteen., They also use many style of numerals. Another thing you should be aware of in this context is the use of initials as this could also indicate your gangster inclinations.
Teardrop tattoo: If you are thinking of tattooing your face you should really think hard. It is not something that you can hide or camouflage. Plus it is an indication of having been to prison as face tattoos are very popular there. The tattoo design featuring a teardrop would mean many things but in terms of gangs and criminals it is indicative of a killer. So you are well advised to avoid this. Do talk to a knowledgeable expert on tattoos if you are considering one of these.
Tattoos for the Aryan Brotherhood: This is a close group of Caucasian males who may or may not have been in jail Supporting the Nazi way of thinking they consider Hitler their hero. Having an AB tattoo will thereby make you a target of ethnic gangs as this indicates that you belong to the Aryan Brotherhood. The brotherhood may also take offense at a non member getting this tattoo. Likewise avoid the number 666 or the swastika.
Tattoos of black gangs: This could include tattoos of weapons, chains, locks, keys, wild animals, numbers, initials of a gang, phone codes and sing language symbols.
The Black Guerrilla Family and other assorted gangs: Avoid getting the number 276 tattooed. You also need to avoid tattoos having the characters XV3, 18th street, XVIII or Dieciocho.
In case you come across a really interesting tattoo design that you find intriguing but cannot find anything about, make sure you do your homework. This is to avoid getting a tattoo that is taboo. You will then end up in trouble with the law as they will mistake you for a gang member and earn the ire of the gang as you do not truly belong.