The Info List - Yardies

Yardie (or Yaadi) is a term often used, particularly within the Caribbean
expatriate and Jamaican diaspora community, to refer to persons of Jamaican origin, though its exact meaning changes depending on context. The term is derived from the Jamaican patois
Jamaican patois
for home or "yard".[1] The term may have specifically originated from the crowded government yards of two-storey concrete homes found in Kingston and inhabited by poorer Jamaican residents.[2] However, especially outside of Jamaica, "yardies" or "the Yardies" usually specifically refers to Jamaican gangs or organized crime groups and gangsters of Jamaican origin, nationality, or ethnicity. The term is often used interchangeably with the term "posse" or "Jamaican posse" to refer to crime groups of Jamaican origin, with the term "Posse" used more frequently in Jamaica, the United States, and Canada
to refer to Jamaican, Jamaican-American, and Jamaican-Canadian crime groups, and "Yardies" being deployed more frequently in the United Kingdom.[3] Yardie gangs or "posses" are involved in a wide array of criminal activity depending on their location, ranging from political corruption, political violence, and assassination in Jamaica to drug trafficking and gang violence in the U.S., Canada, and U.K.[2][4]


1 Etymology and usage 2 Origins 3 United Kingdom 4 Criminal activity 5 In popular culture

5.1 Films and television series 5.2 Video games

6 References

Etymology and usage[edit] Derived from Jamaican Patois, the term "yardie" can be ambiguous, having multiple meanings depending on context.[3] In the most innocuous sense, "yardie" can simply refer to a Jamaican national; as "yard" can mean "home" in Jamaican Patois, Jamaican expatriates who moved abroad to countries such as the U.K. and U.S. would often refer to themselves and other Jamaicans
as "yardies".[3] "Yardie" may also more specifically apply to those Jamaicans
originating in the impoverished "government yards" or courtyards of Jamaican public housing, and the term was eventually applied to criminals and gang members originating from these "yards."[2][5] As the term "yard" in Jamaican Patois
Jamaican Patois
can also refer to a territory, turf, or piece of land, "yardie" further gained gang or criminal connotations as Jamaican gangs or criminals claimed certain "territories" or "turf" and referred to such territory as their "yards."[3] Subsequently, in the U.K. and, to a lesser extent, North America, the term "Yardie" most frequently refers to gangsters or gangs of Jamaica
origin, though these gang members themselves may refer to their gangs as "posses" or "crews."[3][6] The term is especially common in the U.K. to describe Jamaican or British Jamaican
British Jamaican
organized crime groups and gangs, while "posse" has become the more common term in North America.[2][3] Origins[edit] In the 1950s in Trenchtown, Kingston, Jamaica, the government created social housing developments employing large public courtyards, and the courtyard areas soon became the hub of social and recreational activity in the crowded housing of Trenchtown. With increasing overcrowding and poverty, however, squatting and homelessness developed within the yards. Crime, drug abuse, and violence overran the yards, while political corruption and clientelism led to local politicians buying and selling patronage within the community and paying gangs and violent political supporters to intimidate voters and threaten, assault, or kill political opponents.[7] By the 1970s and 1980s, political violence and politically-affiliated organized crime groups and street gangs became increasingly common in poorer areas of Jamaica, with gangs often led by older bosses known as "dons" (in reference to the Sicilian Mafia
Sicilian Mafia
don) and participating in both apolitical drug trafficking and racketeering and political violence and political intimidation.[2] These gangs became known as "Yardies," "posses", or "crews".[6] By the 1980s, a drop in government budgets resulted in less money being paid by political parties to their gangs of armed supporters. These political Yardie gangs thus increasingly turned to apolitical criminal activity, such as drug trafficking, to bring in income.[2] At the same time, the Jamaican government severely cracked down on Yardie gangs and political violence in general, leading many so-called Yardie gangsters to immigrate abroad and establish gangs the U.K., U.S., and Canada.[8] The establishment of Yardie gangs abroad coincided with the rise of crack cocaine in both North America
North America
and the U.K., and Yardie and Posse gangs from Jamaica
became heavily involved in the trafficking of crack cocaine and other drugs, in addition to illegal gambling and other criminal activity.[8] United Kingdom[edit] During the 1950s, the British government encouraged immigration to the country to fill existing job vacancies. Within the Caribbean community, new arrivals from Jamaica
were sometimes referred to as "Yardies" due to reference of Jamaica
as "back a yard" (or "back home"). A large influx of inner city Jamaican immigration to Britain during the 1980s led to the rise of gang violence or behaviour on the part of Jamaicans
which became known in wider British society
British society
as " Yardie culture" and the participants "Yardies". The terms "Yardie gang" or " Yardie gun violence" were largely used by the British media to describe violent crimes in London's black community. The gangs in London
are specifically known to have occupied and operated in their infamous grounds of Brixton, Harlesden, Hackney, Tottenham, Peckham and Notting Hill.[6] Jamaican-born British writer Victor Headley wrote a bestselling 1992 novel entitled Yardie. Criminal activity[edit] Yardie gangs are notorious for their involvement in gun crime and the illegal drug trade, notably marijuana and crack cocaine in the United Kingdom.[citation needed] In 1993, Yardies were blamed for the murder of Police Constable Patrick Dunne, shot dead while patrolling in Clapham.[9] British police are hesitant to categorize Yardie gangs as organized crime, since there appears to be no real structure or central leadership; gang affiliations can be described as loose at best.[citation needed] Neither have Yardies made any attempts at setting up fronts for their illegal activities, nor any serious attempts to corrupt and infiltrate law enforcement organisations.[citation needed] Academics have noted a tendency to over-label black British crime as "Yardie"-related due to stereotype and social narrative.[10] A number of operations to combat Yardie gun crime have been set up, notably Operation Trident in the London
area.[11] Yardies (or imitating) gangs also appear to be active in Bristol, Birmingham, Aberdeen, Edinburgh
and Nottingham
but to a lesser extent. Some maintain that the supposed reach and influence in communities of these "Yardies" is a myth.[5] In popular culture[edit] Films and television series[edit]

The Harder They Come
The Harder They Come
(1972) Live and Let Die (1973) Marked for Death
Marked for Death
(1990) Predator 2
Predator 2
(1990) Rumble in the Bronx
Rumble in the Bronx
(1995) Snatch (2000) Rollin' with the Nines
Rollin' with the Nines
(2006) Running Scared (2006) Shottas
(2006) Ross Kemp on Gangs
Ross Kemp on Gangs
(2007) The Other Guys
The Other Guys
(2010) Castle (2012)

Video games[edit]

Grand Theft Auto (1997) Grand Theft Auto III
Grand Theft Auto III
(2001) The Getaway (2002) Gangs of London
(2006) Grand Theft Auto IV
Grand Theft Auto IV


^ Allsop, Richard (2010). New Register of Caribbean
English Usage. Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press. ISBN 978-976-640-298-3.  ^ a b c d e f Covey, Herbert (2010). Street Gangs Throughout the World. Springfirld, Illinois: Charles C Thomas Publisher.  ^ a b c d e f McCarthy, Dennis M. P. (2011). An Economic History of Organized Crime: A National and Transnational Approach. Routledge.  ^ Figueira, Daurius (2004). Cocaine and Heroin Trafficking in the Caribbean: The Case of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica
and Guyana. iUniverse.  ^ a b "Who are the Yardies?". BBC News. June 19, 1999. Retrieved 6 November 2016.  ^ a b c Alan Wright (17 June 2013). Organised Crime. Routledge. pp. 211–. ISBN 978-1-134-01890-1.  ^ Gibson, Carrie (2014). Empire's Crossroads: The Caribbean
From Columbus to the Present Day. Pan Macmillan.  ^ a b Abadinsky, Howard (2012). Organized Crime. Cengage Learning.  ^ Catharine Arnold (5 July 2012). Underworld London: Crime and Punishment in the Capital City. Simon and Schuster. pp. 407–. ISBN 978-0-85720-117-1.  ^ Cyrille Fijnaut; Letizia Paoli (21 January 2007). Organised Crime in Europe: Concepts, Patterns and Control Policies in the European Union and Beyond. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 428–. ISBN 978-1-4020-2765-9.  ^ "Police tackle London's Yardies", BBC News, 20 July 1999.

Yawdie Online World - Who is a "Yawdie" London
Street Gangs "No respect: the grim culture of 'Yardie' violence", BBC News, 28 August 2002

v t e

Organized crime
Organized crime
groups active in the Americas


Ashkenazum Puccio family Zwi Migdal


Amigos dos Amigos Comando Vermelho Primeiro Comando da Capital Terceiro Comando Terceiro Comando Puro Hells Angels Zwi Migdal


See: Organized crime
Organized crime
groups in Canada


No Limit Soldiers (Curaçao) Yardies (Jamaica) Shower Posse (Jamaican) Zoe Pound (Haiti)


Clan del Golfo Oficina de Envigado


Gulf Cartel Juárez Cartel Knights Templar Cartel Los Zetas Sinaloa Cartel Tijuana Cartel













Various European

Albanian Boys Albanian Mafia American Mafia
American Mafia
(Italian-American) Dixie Mafia (White Southerner) Friends Stand United Greek mafia

Philadelphia Greek Mob Velentzas crime family

Irish Mob

The Westies The Winter Hill Gang The K&A Gang

Jewish Mob Polish Mob Odessa mafia (Ukrainian Jewish) Russian mafia Serbian Mafia Simon City Royals Chicago Gaylords Dead Man Incorporated Popes Juggalo Gangs Zwi Migdal

Italian and Italian-American

American Mafia

Bufalino crime family (Northeastern PA; mostly defunct) Buffalo crime family Chicago Outfit Cleveland crime family DeCavalcante crime family (Northern New Jersey) Detroit Partnership Five Families
Five Families
(New York City) Kansas City crime family Los Angeles crime family Milwaukee crime family New Orleans crime family
New Orleans crime family
(possibly defunct) Patriarca crime family
Patriarca crime family
(New England) Philadelphia crime family Pittsburgh crime family Trafficante crime family (Florida) St. Louis crime family

(Neapolitan / Campanian) 'Ndrangheta
(Calabrian) Sicilian Mafia South Brooklyn Boys The Tanglewood Boys


Black Disciples Black Guerrilla Family Black Mafia (Muslim / Nation of Islam)

Junior Black Mafia

Black P. Stones


Black Spades Bloods

Bounty Hunter Bloods Pirus Sex Money Murda United Blood Nation Nine Trey Gangsters


Du Roc Crips East Nashville Crips Grape Street Watts Crips Rollin' 30s Harlem Crips Rollin 60's Neighborhood Crips Venice Shoreline Crips

D.C. Blacks Four Corner Hustlers Gangster Disciples

OutLaw Gangster Disciples

Hidden Valley Kings KUMI 415 Lucerne Street Doggz Mickey Cobras Savage Skulls Supreme Team Vice Lords Westmob

Hispanic and Latin American

The Corporation (Cuban) Dominicans Don't Play Trinitarios (Dominican) Latin Eagles Spanish Gangster Disciples Latin Kings (Mexican / Puerto Rican) Maniac Latin Disciples Ñetas (Puerto Rican) Mara Salvatrucha (Central American) Marielitos (Cuban 18th Street gang
18th Street gang
(Mexican / Central American) 38th Street gang
38th Street gang
(primarily Mexican) Barrio Azteca (Mexican) El Monte Flores 13 (Mexican) Florencia 13 (Mexican) Fresno Bulldogs
Fresno Bulldogs
(Mexican) Hermanos de Pistoleros Latinos (primarily Mexican) Mexican Mafia Los Mexicles Mexikanemi Norteños
(Mexican) Nuestra Familia (Mexican) Puro Tango Blast (Mexican) La Raza Nation (Mexican) Almighty Saints (primarily Hispanic, also European-American) Savage Skulls Siete Viejo Sureños

38th Street gang The Avenues Barriox13 Culver City Boys 13 Eastside Bolen Parque 13 El Monte Flores 13 Logan Heights Gang Northside Bolen Parque 13 Playboys Pomona 12th Street Sharkies Puente 13 Santa Monica 13 Varrio Nuevo Estrada Venice 13 White Fence

Toonerville Rifa 13
Toonerville Rifa 13
(Mexican) Texas Syndicate (primarily Mexican)


Asian Boyz (Southeast Asian) Bahala Na Gang
(Filipino) Black Dragons (Chinese) Born To Kill (Vietnamese) Fullerton Boys (Korean) Flying Dragons (primarily Chinese) Ghost Shadows (Chinese/Vietnamese) Indian Mafia Jackson Street Boys (Chinese) Menace of Destruction (Hmong) Satanas (Filipino) Tiny Rascal Gang
(Cambodian) Tongs (Chinese)

On Leong Tong Hip Song Tong Four Brothers

Triad (Chinese)

14K Triad Big Circle Gang Four Seas Gang Jackson Street Boys Snakehead

VVT (Tamil) Wah Ching (Chinese) Yakuza

Pacific Islander

Sons of Samoa Tongan Crip Gang Uso Family, Samoan for Brother (Samoan) The Company (Native Hawaiian)

Native American

Aboriginal-based organized crime (Native American) Indian Posse (Native American) Native Mob (Native American)

Middle Eastern / Western Asian

Armenian Power Chaldean Mafia Israeli Mafia Turkish Mafia


Cape Verdean organized crime Organized crime
Organized crime
in Nigeria

Non-Hispanic Caribbean

Yardies / Posses (Jamaican) Shower Posse (Jamaican) Zoe Pound (Haitian)

Outlaw motorcycle clubs and One percenter gangs

69'ers Bandidos Motorcycle Club The Breed Motorcycle Club Brother Speed Devils Diciples Diablos Motorcycle Club El Forastero Motorcycle Club Free Souls Motorcycle Club Grim Reapers (U.S.) Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club Hells Angels Highwaymen Motorcycle Club Iron Horsemen Mongols Motorcycle Club Outlaws Motorcycle Club Pagan's Motorcycle Club Rock Machine Motorcycle Club Satan's Soldiers Sin City Deciples Sons of Satan MC Sons of Silence Vagos Motorcycle Club Warlocks Motorcycle Club (Florida) Warlocks Motorcycle Club (Philadelphia / Delaware Valley)

White supremacist
White supremacist

211 Crew Aryan Brotherhood Aryan Brotherhood
Aryan Brotherhood
of Texas Aryan Circle Aryan Nation Aryan Republican Army Combat 18 European Kindred Hammerskins Nazi Lowriders Public Enemy No. 1 Keystone State Skinheads