It is known that criminal gangs can be found in all parts of the United States. Gangs constitute a serious threat to all people of the country including ordinary citizens and law enforcement officials. According to the statistical data represented by the FBI, today there are more than 20,000 street gangs, motorcycle gangs, prison gangs which totally include more than one million active members. (The FBI Official Web Site)
Most of gangs in the USA are well organized and use severe violence to control neighborhoods in all parts of the country and develop their illegal activities which include such criminal actions as fraud, extortion, robbery, drug and gun trafficking, and prostitution. It is known that today the US law enforcement agencies are redoubling their efforts in order to disrupt illegal activities and eliminate gangs through numerous intelligence-driven investigations, new initiatives and partnerships.
SOME FACTS FROM HISTORY OF GANGS IN THE USA
It is known that gangs are not a new phenomenon in our society. Its history goes back to the 1800s, the period of industrialization, when a large number of gangs were formed in big cities with extremely high level of poverty.
The first gangs consisted of tenement-dwelling children of immigrants whose families had no opportunity to find job and lived in poverty. The number of gangs was constantly increasing as well as the scope and variety of crimes they undertook at that period. In the 1800s, the most important city was Chicago which became the center of gang formation.
Post World War II period was known as a period of low gang activity, while in 1960s, there was an increase in gang formation. African–American and Hispanic gangs were on the peak of its activity. The major reasons of gang formation lie in the serious economic situation, the growth of poverty and unemployment, huge wave of immigration, low level of education, inappropriate work of law enforcement agencies, corruption and so on. (Gangs in the USA)
DIFFERENT TYPES OF GANGS AND THEIR ILLEGEL ACTIVITIES
According to the reliable information represented by the FBL officials, there are several types of gangs in the USA, such as street gangs, prison gangs, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and others. These gangs have very much in common, but at the same time they differ from each other.
Street gangs can be found in all big cities of the country. According to the US criminal code, street gangs stand for small groups, clubs or organizations which consist of five or more members. They commit different criminal offences throughout the country including smuggling and distribution of drugs. Moreover, some small street gangs can be found in rural and suburban areas where they also pose a threat to peaceful population. The following gangs are the most prominent gangs in the USA. 18-th Street was formed in Los Angeles. The gang members are involved in auto theft, fraud, robbery, and drive-by shooting. Asian Boys is the largest Asian street gang in the country. It was formed in California in 1970s. Its members produce, transport and distribute drugs: MDMA and marijuana. They also take part in robbery, homicide, burglary and assault. The other street gangs are MS-13, Black Peace Stone Nation, Bloods, Crips, Fresno Bulldogs, Gangster Disciples, Latin Counts and others. (Gangs in the USA)
Outlaw Motorcycle gangs include the members of the motorcycle clubs who are involved in criminal activity. In most cases they are involved in drug smuggling operations. The most prominent outlaw motorcycle gangs include Bandidos, Black Pistons Motorcycle Club, Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, Outlaws, Pegan’s Motorcycle Club, Mongol’s Motorcycle Club and others.
Prison gangs stand for the criminal organizations which are formed and operate in the prison system. They are well organized groups which are governed according to the established code of conduct. The members of prison gangs are involved in robbery, kidnapping, extortion, weapons operations, auto theft, arson, and assault. The most prominent prison gangs are Aryan Brotherhood, Black Guerilla Family, Barrio Azteca, Texas Syndicate and others. (Gangs in the USA)
ANTI-GANG INITIATIVES AND PARTNERSHIPS
Today, the FBI and law enforcement agencies take appropriate measure to fight against gangs’ criminal activity in the United States. There are a lot of special programs and centers which have been developed with the major goal – to stop gangs’ activities in the country. Among them are the following ones: National Gang Intelligence Center which supports the US law enforcement agencies in anti-gang operations, Transnational Anti-Gang partnership and Safe Street Violent Crime Initiative which fight against violence of street gangs and drug-oriented violence, Violent Gang Task Forces, MS-13 National Gang Task Force and others. (The FBI Official Web Site)
In conclusion, it is necessary to say that the issue concerning the growth of gangs in the USA is really a serious one. Moreover, it requires certain solutions to be made by the US government. The wide-spread illegal activity of gangs should be eliminated as soon as possible.
Gangs in the USA. Narcotics Digest Weekly. Special Issue. Vol.4(40) October 4, 2005. Retrieved from:<http://www.cicad.oas.org/Crimen_Organizado/ESP/Actualidad/Pandillas%20en%20USA.pdf>
The FBI Official Web Site. (2011) Gangs. Retrieved from:<http://www.fbi.gov/aboutus/investigate/vc_majorthefts/gangs/gangs>