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Gang code within a code

Gary Klivans has discovered a numbers-based code embedded within the Bloods gang code

Editor’s note: Gary has done tremendous work to decipher the ornate secret code used by the Bloods gang both inside and outside of prisons. His article, Gang Codes: Unraveling the ‘Bloods’ history mystery ran on Corrections1 a year ago. In this new article, Gary describes his discovery of a code within the original code. Please find the rest of Gary’s work on gang codes by going to his columnist page.

By Gary Klivans

I discovered a code used within a code when I deciphered a Blood gang code which was used in a 19 page document confiscated in Pennsylvania. The code symbols were complex and ornate, and within the confiscated material were two smaller documents describing the history of gangs on the West Coast.

The discovery
In this illustration you can see a page that contains both codes. I identified this as a Bloods gang document because it uses the identifier “031”.


A closer inspection of this page reveals that the writer also references another code used by the Bloods gang. You will see the letters “OYBBQ”, in English, not using the code symbols utilized in the 19 page document.


The “13-13" code
This new code is called the “13-13” code, and it uses a system based on letter transposition. Using this code, the word “BLOOD” would be written “OYBBQ”. Numbers can also be used, so that the word “BLOOD” would be “2 – 12 – 15 – 15 – 4”.


Using the code
The first paragraph shown in Illustration 1 above is reprinted and deciphered here. This deciphered paragraph shows the use of the “13-13” to write the word “BLOOD” by using “OYBBQ” and the second line of the “031 Oath” would read “Blood is about staying up”.


Other uses of the code
Blood gang use of the “13-13” code seems to be increasing as an identifier, including the use in tattoos, which can be seen in both the forearm tattoo and chest tattoos seen below.



An understanding of the Bloods’ use of ornate codes is an invaluable tool that officers and administration can use to control and understand this vicious gang. The “13-13" code shows that gang members will continue to innovate in the use of these codes, and as a result officers must do all they can to stay abreast of this valuable intel.

GS KLIVANS is a gang consultant and lecturer specializing in gang codes.