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'Gang' Graffiti in Brick: What Does it Mean?

Often, it's tough to tell whether graffiti is legitimate or not

Feet from where shoppers loaded big-screen televisions and expensive computers into their cars last weekend were some markings that few would notice. But the seemingly random combination of letters and numbers spray painted on the glass enclosure surrounding the NJ Transit bus stop near the Best Buy electronics store in Brick may have a deeper meaning – or none at all.

The graffiti painted at the Chambers Bridge Road bus stop reads, "Sur 13," a marking commonly associated with the Sureños street gang, which traces its roots to Southern California in the 1960s.

"Most times what we're seeing locally, is that they're just announcing that they're here or have been here," said Brick Police Chief Nils R. Bergquist, responding to an inquiry from Brick Patch about the graffiti on the bus stop enclosure after a reader sent in a photograph.

Bergquist said the township police department keeps on "anything we suspect could even be remotely connected to gang activity," but that it's often difficult to determine whether such graffiti is actually a function of gang activity, or simply an imposter.

"Sometimes, it's people who are emulating gangs," the chief said.

A State Police report on gangs released earlier this year indicated 24 members from five gangs lived in Brick in 2010. Bergquist, however, estimated at the time about double that number now actually live in the township, though the figure is always fluctuating.

Bergquist said Brick police "routinely" arrest gang members and earlier this year hired a civilian to administer a special record-keeping module that tracks gang activity and gang intelligence.

Police officers share intelligence – including instances of graffiti – with their counterparts in other local police departments, as well as the county prosecutor's office, to see if any meaning can be derived from graffiti that could be linked to gang activity. Bergquist said there have been two or three incidents related to gang graffiti in the past several months, and police arrested a juvenile from out of town in November related to one of them.

But the vast majority of graffiti in Brick, the chief said, doesn't have any deeper meaning.

"A very small percentage of the graffiti that we see is actually gang related," he said.

Earlier this fall, he said, someone spray painted graffiti on the center median of Route 70 that was essentially meaningless. It was later removed using a special substance that highway crews use to wash away the paint.

When graffiti is spotted, police officers take photographs, then request it be removed, either by the township public works department or the owner of a property where it was sprayed.

"That's a quality of life issue for the people in the neighborhood, and it also puts a message out to the people putting it up that we're not going to stand for it," Bergquist said.

1stcav December 12, 2011 at 03:43 PM
Lawn cutters, dish washers, line cooks , car washers , pavers and jobs that your/my son or daughter don't want/have to do....because we the parents spoil them so they go to the mall and spend our money instead of earning there own doing work..menial labor is so not in...Mom & Dad..I did make them both work in the summers, life guarding and on the BW @ Kohrs for school clothes and spending money...The after school and winter jobs are tough because then the grades take a beating...darn if ya do , and darn if ya don't.
Vera Fozman December 12, 2011 at 03:46 PM
Also add to the list, "The Shore Boys" and or "Shore Kids". They are recruited mostly on College Campus' or in High Schools and act out in Plain Sight. This problem is pervasive indeed, but to once again blame other populations is a crime in itself.
Next Brick Mayor December 12, 2011 at 04:00 PM
This should be a wake up call for the citizens of Ocean County, if you don't have a gun license and gun, go get one. It starts with painting a bus stop, then turns into invading people's homes. The police can not be everywhere, be ready to protect your families.
Eternal December 12, 2011 at 04:03 PM
The only way to slow the growth of gangs is to keep kids too loved and too damned busy to even think of joining a gang.
Brian December 12, 2011 at 04:27 PM
Vera, I think your adding more race to the topic then anyone else. Gangs are gangs, full of every color and creed and religion. If we complain about the Mafia, is that racisit against Itialians? Or how bout the IRA, is that racisit against Irishmen? MS-13 is a latin gang, the Bloods are a black gang, the "Latin" kings are again a latin gang. Its not racist, it just stating the facts. and the problems are in every culture.
Vera Fozman December 12, 2011 at 04:38 PM
Brian, my comment was in regards to previous statements on this thread. They were blatant in regards to where those gang members hail from and a direct hit at their ethnicity. Your right to think has not been questioned. Heads need to be lifted out of the sand.
Kathleen Woodley Strittmatter December 12, 2011 at 04:48 PM
Yup Vera that is EXACTLY what I said. I mean what I say and I say what I mean. Latin Kings refers to "Latins". Bloods and Cryps are usually African American. Sorry you don't like to hear the truth, I'm sure once you leave HappyVille and step out into the world you will see the same thing. Too bad if you don't like it, its the truth so facing it now may save yourself later. Have a nice day :)
Brian December 12, 2011 at 06:16 PM
I think your head need to come out of the sand. Gangs like MS-13 are made up heavily of illegal immigrants. We have a very large and growing Spanish population in Brick, most are legal and hard working, some are not. Honestly, a white person could not join MS-13. Its is a Spanish gang only. If anyone is racist its the Spanish people in MS-13, they wont let other cultures join. Again its not racism to tie gangs like the Latin kings and MS-13 to illegal immigrants, its the truth. It may be a inconvenient truth for you personally, but its still the truth. Complaining that MS-13 is made up of a bunch of illegal immigrants is the same as complaining that the Aryan Brotherhood is made up of ignorant white trash.....They are both sad truths.
Kathleen Woodley Strittmatter December 12, 2011 at 07:24 PM
BRAVO. Could not have said it better myself. Thinking if I put in an application for the Latin Kings and are rejected due to being white, I could contact the ACLU?
KingNeptune December 12, 2011 at 07:36 PM
Gangs are alive and well at the Jersey Shore. Politicians don't like to admit to that at the same time they threaten to cut public safety.
Sally Reyes December 12, 2011 at 07:37 PM
" "A very small percentage of the graffiti that we see is actually gang related," he said" Ha..really? What an ignorant statement, If it is not painted by a pledged gang member, it's not gang related, ok, so its just some 14 yr old punk looking to be initiated? Or a bunch of 12 year olds looking to emulate their role models? Sounds gang related either way - wake up Brick Officials your town has been riddled by gangs for years and sorry your Census of 24 members living here last year is inaccurate, I can count 24 of them in one apartment - dont kid yourself! With a husband and a brother on 2 neighboring police depts and task force I can tell you this article is a joke! And Vera, as a Latina myself I will state there is nothing wrong with Ms Strittmatter's comment she is right - the facts are : LK's and MS13 target the oppressed, already illegal or children of illegal immigrants so to stop the madness start at the source!
Kathleen Woodley Strittmatter December 12, 2011 at 07:41 PM
Thank you Sally. I meant no disrespect as I have family and friends of all ethnicities. They too, feel the same and know who is at the root of these problems. Now if the town would just wake up!!! Ms. Fozman needs to see the light for what it is. Being ignorant is how this is spreading in the first place. The younger generation's lives are at stake here, not their little feelings.
Hollowman December 12, 2011 at 08:20 PM
Surenos is a collection of many gangs from southern CA, Surenos meaning southerners. As opposed to Nortenos, or northerners who the Surenos have been fighting against since their inception. the number 13 is placed after MANY gangs, not just MS-13. MS-13 is a single gang. The number 13 is used to symbolize the letter M, which is a tribute to the Mexican Mafia, or La Eme. Years ago there was a gang war that caused a split in Cali between gangs siding with either La Eme in the south, or Nuestra Famillia in the North. Sur-13 most definitely stands for Surenos, which is different but not necessarily separate from MS-13. MS-13 is an abbreviation for Mara Salvatrucha. The 13 is used there for the same reason in Sur-13. To pay homage to La Eme
Red December 12, 2011 at 09:03 PM
I think what she was saying is that crime isn't limited to ethnic groups. Sure the gangs are made up of those ethnic groups, but they are not the ONLY people causing crime in Brick Township. There are plenty of non-gang related crimes being committed every day that aren't gang related.
Mickey December 12, 2011 at 10:04 PM
the gang overflow from Lakewood, Howell and Toms River has been invading Brick for years. criminals come in all shapes & sizes. but ask the kids that go to our school, the cops that work the streets and they tell you there are a hell of a lot more then 24 gang members in Brick.
Anthony December 12, 2011 at 10:10 PM
Kids are turning to gangs for things they should be getting from their parents? Stop the presses!
Vera Fozman December 12, 2011 at 10:14 PM
There are gangs formed within all walks of America. It has been proven time and time again "The Irish gang" wearing brass knuckles following shot and beer stops, are well known for "hunting" laborers of Mexican origin, dragging them in alleyway's followed by bloodied bashing in of their faces. Many students are of mixed origin grasping on to their hispanic heritage rather than their Italian heritage, while embracing the "familial gang draw".
Vera Fozman December 12, 2011 at 10:18 PM
To think many of the gang performed raids are performed by "others" is not only preposterous, but ignorant., as well as dangerous.
Brian December 12, 2011 at 10:55 PM
What "others" do you mean?? And also what "gang raids" are being committed? I dont think the Irish ,or anyone, are going Mexican hunting anymore, if ever. Though if you go back 150 years or so ago it was the Irish that were hunted and discriminated against. Irish people couldn't even get a job back then. But now-a-days Mexicans can easily get work, legal or not. They also get free education for their children, free charity care at hospitals, drivers licensees... I would guess that my immigrant ancestors would say that the immigrants of today have it easy!!
Zerosignal December 12, 2011 at 10:56 PM
Put up a big fence to stop Lakewood trash coming into town. That will stop 50% , then get rid of the illegals that will curb another 35% of the problem
Denny D December 15, 2011 at 07:56 PM
Uh-oh The next thing you know the Purple Gang will be arriving via Lakewood! Oy!
Jerseyclone December 15, 2011 at 08:10 PM
The chiefs comments ("Most times what we're seeing locally, is that they're just announcing that they're here or have been here," said Brick Police Chief Nils R. Bergquist,) are totally unbelievable. He better wake up and smell the roses before the graffiti shows up on his eye glasses. Town hall has to stop hiding the truth. The hell with the ACLU-round up the gangs and drop back in there mother country--If they are true US citizens brand them so we all know who they are and let the people deal with it. The MAN doesn't know what to do but Joe on the street does.
Vera Fozman December 15, 2011 at 08:10 PM
Look at all of the "clean cut" boys pimping their "fresh" work boots, white tee shirts, kacky's and "team" hats. DO your DD, and stop "the not in my backyard" mentality. To be aware is to be alive. Home grown College students. Whaaaat??
Karie Kauff December 19, 2011 at 11:20 PM
It is disturbing to see this where you live, how do you see who it is, it's done late night-early morning (probably run and hide) if they see a car, police, on 70 they can run right into the woods. I do think they are imposters or emulating gangs, the kids today have no morals, family life, guidance and no jobs to keep them busy, they think this is funny and all a game
Karie Kauff December 19, 2011 at 11:23 PM
sorry - continued, i'm not saying that there is no gangs or activity because i also see what has moved into the area, we all need to keep our eyes opened !
Arlen December 28, 2011 at 04:54 PM
Now now Brian, if they admit it, Brick would lose its "title" as being the safest town in america. No more Mayberry USA
Arlen December 29, 2011 at 10:14 PM
Karie, and join the NRA... just sayin...
Dax February 05, 2012 at 01:41 AM
I live in Brick. The Chief can say whatever he wants. However the average response time for a police call is 23 minutes. I'll just keep my guns and my 2 large personal protection trained german shepherd dogs to watch over me and my family. I say to all those gang bangers, bring it on.
Hollowman February 05, 2012 at 03:20 AM
23 minutes? That has got to be the most uninformed Statement I have ever heard. The response time in brick is 2 or 3 minutes tops, not 23. Where do you get your facts from.
Sean Conneamhe February 05, 2012 at 03:45 AM
"Bee alert."


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