The term "Yardie'' is a moniker given by the Jamaican people themselves to someone recently arrived in the United Kingdom from Jamaica, which is referred to as the "back yard'' (meaning back home).During the 1950s, while England was enjoying a post-war economic boom, the British Government encouraged immigration to the country to fill existing job vacancies. As a result, many Afro-Caribbeans immigrated in search of a better standard of living. They mostly found unskilled employment, and because wages were low, sought cheap housing in the run down, inner-city areas. When the country's economic fortunes changed, many in this new work force were among the first to feel the recession. Second-generation Caribbeans, in particular, found it difficult to match achievements with aspirations. Within the low-income, Afro-Caribbean communities of London, crime is not unlike that found in many major American cities. Living in poor-quality housing--often public or "project'' housing--the people comprise a disproportionately high ratio of the unemployed. Violence, usually drug related, continually plagues residents.Over the years, police relations with residents of these communities have often been strained, and on occasion, violently confrontational. Policing ethnically sensitive and volatile areas was difficult and demanding, although considerable progress was made in developing the citizenry's trust in law enforcement.However, the relationship between law enforcement and low-income, ethnic communities deteriorated rapidly when a new influx of immigrants arrived in the United Kingdom during the late 1970s. Unlike those who preceded them, these immigrants did not adhere to a Christian work ethic, nor did they come seeking a better life. Rather, they came as criminals, often fugitives, to earn money from crime. Gradually, these "Yardies'' distinguished themselves from the local communitie.
Yardies are generally single males between the ages of 18 and 35. They are usually unemployed, often by choice, although some will claim to be involved in the music business as singers, musicians, record producers or promoters, or disc jockeys when challenged. Although determining the nationality of those who arrive is difficult, Jamaica is by far the predominant country of origin. Entering the country as tourists or to "visit relatives,'' Yardies usually assume false identities and carry forged credentials. Many have criminal convictions or are wanted by the police. Because they are known only by their street names to their associates, they are extremely difficult to identify. Some even travel on false or fraudulently obtained British passports.
The United Kingdom became an attractive destination for Yardies because of its long-standing association with its former colonies in the Caribbean. Both share a common language and many cultural, social, sporting, and religious values- actors upon which legitimate immigration is built.Unfortunately, with the immigration of convicted criminals and fugitives, a criminal infrastructure arose within the community that is hostile toward the police and provides a refuge for fugitives. Clubs, bars, and house parties that tend to imitate Jamaican street life provide the venues for crime.Even though Yardies find support in these established ethnic communities, the United Kingdom is not the destination of choice for them; that honor is bestowed on the United States. However, as Jamaican violence and drug trafficking has grown, U.S. immigration authorities and other Federal agencies have become aware of the dangers posed by Jamaican gangs. The United States has made it increasingly difficult for Jamaican criminals to gain entry into the country; consequently, they have been forced to look elsewhere, particularly to the United Kingdom. In many cases, though, Britain has simply become the staging point for entry into the United States on fraudulently obtained British passports.Slowly but surely the Yardies have been able to migrate and infiltrate the United States, predominantly in the south west coast in larger cities such as Los Santos, San Andreas. Yardies in these parts tend to form small support groups of any Caribbean descendants whom live together in community homes. They stick to project housing and low-income housing despite their immense profit from their trafficking of contraband. They instead invest their profit in more merchandise or defense in the form of weaponry.
Once they've reached their destination, the Yardies who assimilate into the respective communities usually become involved in drug-related crime. Such crime is primarily introspective, that is, it is the community itself that is damaged the most. Drug sales are made predominantly to other residents; violence, usually drug related, is directed toward those who live there. Inevitably, and no doubt as a direct economic necessity, the crime spills over into other areas of the community with burglary and robbery being committed outside the defined areas to fund drug abuse.In many ways, the cultural strengths of the Afro-Caribbean communities are being debased and abused as vehicles for serious crime. Organized Jamaican reggae parties are used frequently to conduct drug transactions. International travel by couriers and traffickers is masked behind the "international culture of music.'' Nonauthorized radio stations are prolific advertisers of musical events where drugs are distributed.The traditional use of marijuana has given way to cocaine and "crack cocaine.'' Here, the methods of production and distribution of drugs emulates those of U.S. inner cities. Heavily armored doors, alarmed and protected by locks and grills, define the perimeters of drug houses. The use of pagers and mobile phones are common among the dealers. Yet, the greatest concern is the increasing use of firearms
Unfortunately, there is a greater willingness among Jamaican drug dealers to settle disputes with a firearm. The fatal shooting of "Yardie Ron'' on the streets of a busy London suburb during the course of dispute involving drugs evidences this fact. Eight shots were fired from three different weapons, an occurrence totally alien to the United Kingdom. In some areas where the unarmed British bobby has struggled to gain the confidence of the community, some Yardies routinely wear guns as macho displays.Though their weapons trafficking has not been largely profitable in the United States due to its less restrictive gun laws, the Yardies still maintain a steady trade of illegal and unlicensed fire arms. This steady stream also keeps the Yardies well armed with automatic weapons such as AK-47 and UZI's as their main weapons of choice. Many Yardies as a sign of wealth and status among the group tote gold plated weaponry as well.
It is difficult to determine by the intelligence gathered whether Yardie or Jamaican crime is organized and comparable to other crime groups like the La Cosa Nostra. Yet, one key element of organized crime--providing illegal goods or services--is clearly evident in Jamaican crime groups. Without question, these groups are involved in supplying marijuana, cocaine, and to a certain extent, prostitutes. They also use force and violence, but here is where the analysis becomes more complex.Traditionally, organized crime has been perceived to rely on corrupt public officials to maintain its monopoly. Yet, Jamaican crime groups do not have a monopoly, or anything approaching it. Nor is there any substantial evidence of them being involved in public corruption or the criminal infiltration of existing organizations, such as unions or businesses. There is also no evidence of any intent to establish quasi-legitimate corporations as "fronts'' for criminal activities.By far, the most vexing questions are those of leadership and group structure. Jamaican crime in the United Kingdom does not have a select group of senior figures controlling a complex, criminal pyramid. Rather, Jamaican crime groups have relatively small, flat organizational structures. The rise to the top is a relatively short step for anyone with access to drugs and the willingness to use force. In most cases, the "top man'' not only imports the drugs but is also personally involved in street dealings.Occasional conflicts between groups are manifested in street violence, but for the most part, groups support each other. In fact, it is not uncommon for members to belong to more than one group. Groups are not durable and frequently break up and reorganize. The dynamics of the groups are chaotic; the only common denominator is the ethnic origin of the members.
R7 - Yardie
R6 - lil' Yardie
R5 - Dealer
R4 - Turist
R3 - Crim
R2 - Shottas
R1 - King Fox
R0 - lil' Fox
Daniel H Sato
Tyler Hunter Sato