Explain the birth of gangs and how they impact society. Discuss the economic value and the detrimental side of gangs and their related business practices.
Wednesday December 4th 2013
In the United States today there are over 1.4 million gang members, these gang members come from poverty and join these gangs for protection from other gang members or to survive on the streets. A street gang is a group of members with identifiable leadership and internal organization, identifying with or claiming control over territory in a community, and engaging either individually or collectively in violent or other forms of illegal behavior. Crime has to happen and street gangs today have taken control of crime with drug trafficking, prostitution, and violence amongst other gang members which has led street gangs to continue to thrive in today’s society.
The history of street gangs can be traced back as early as the American Revolution. In the Northeast and Midwest United States gangs were started because of immigration and poverty. Theses gang members were from immigrants migrating with large families coming to the US from Europe. American citizens didn’t like the change that was happening in our country so the discriminated against the immigrants causing them to find little work to no work at all. The first wave of immigrants were considered the “old immigrants” from Northern Europe, the second wave of immigrants we the Polish, Italians, Irish, and the Jews. In the northeast and Midwest the Great Migration was taking place where the African Americans were moving from the rural south to the urban north.
New York City around the time of 1860-1920 were developing street gangs of same race/ethnicity. These street gangs took control of anything people wanted gambling, drinking, and murder, during the times of 1920 to 1933 under the 18th Amendment banned the sale of liquor. This led to NYC street gangs or “the mafia” took control of these illegal distribution of liquor just as modernized Latin Kings run the heroin on the streets. This led to famous gangsters as most Chicagoans know Al Capone, who actually got his rise in the NYC street gangs brought on by the Five Points Gang which is said to be the most significant street gang in United States History. Johnny Torrio a key member to the Sicilian Mafia sought out Al Capone to be in the James Street Gang where Capone ran in to trouble and moved himself to Chicago. Al Capone eventually became the most violent gangsters in Chicago history.
In the early 20th century with Capone’s move to Chicago the emergence of street gangs of Europeans in Chicago with Polish and Italian gangs. The way these street gangs where able to thrive so much was who they had on their side, during this time many politicians where corrupt and even provided police protection for some of the stronger street gangs of Chicago. The European street gangs went down with outsourcing and the gang members moving out of the inner city and to the surrounding areas of the city. The second wave in Chicago street gangs was during the Great Migration when the African-Americans came from the rural south to the urban north seeking better jobs and to be relieved of the Jim Crow laws. During the years of 1910 to 1930 the African-Americans were on the rise in the inner city causing the white street gangs to cause mayhem and would go in their community and send threats and disrupt peace which led to the 1919 race riot. The race riot started after a black boy was swimming and crossed over to the white side and was drowned during the debacle, the race riot went to last for 5 days the race riot black males from the inner city of Chicago formed together to fight against white superior gangs who had allegedly killed the boy in the lake.
After the race riot African-Americans in the inner city were moved into low income housing projects, there were 51 high rise buildings built around the city which led to problems in the street...
References: Chicago Crime Commission. (2009). The Chicago Crime Commission Gang Book. Chicago: Chicago Crime Commission.
Dawley, D. (1992). A Nation of Lords: The Autobiography of the Vice Lords. (2nd ed.). Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland.
Federal Bureau of Investigation. (2008). National Gang Threat Assessment: 2009. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Adamson, C. (2000). Defensive localism in white and black: A comparative history of European- American and African-American youth gangs. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 23, 272–298.
Manwaring, M. G. (2007). A contemporary challenge to state sovereignty: Gangs and other illicit transnational criminal organizations in Central America, El Salvador, Mexico, Jamaica, and Brazil. Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army College
Thrasher, F. M. (1927/1963). The Gang—A Study of 1,313 Gangs in Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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