by Drew Glapa, Olivia Chippewa, Natalie Burdick, Colton Scott


Gangs started to become larger problems in the late 1980's and 1990's. Gangs started to originate in the bigger cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago (N.C.V.C). But gangs weren't just in the inner cities, they started to spread out into rural communities and suburbs. When people think of gangs they think of African American gangs. There were approximately 100,000 gang members in the US in 1992, and including almost 50% of gangs were Hispanic, and only about 30% African American, left with 15% White and 6% Asians. Gangs were mostly young kids, 7% of the youth (which was all the male gang members) were responsible for 70% of the juvenile crimes. (Egendorf) If statistics show that most of gang members are all kids, they all go to school and disrupt the schools and the community. Gangs bring fears into the school making it hard for other students to learn, and also bring in drugs into the school community such as cocaine and other street drugs (2). Also gang members contribute to the crime rate because they have easy access to firearms (guns). Out of the twenty million guns they had in 1990, a hundred thousand of the guns gang members had (47). Firearms disrupted the school system because schools had to spend their funds on things like metal detectors at the doors of the buildings to know that their kids were safe. A terrifying fact is that most juveniles don't have very good aim which started to lead to "drive bys" which consisted of open fire driving past locations (N.C.V.C). Gangs started to boom in the United States for several different reasons including a increase in drug trafficking, the ease of access to drugs and guns, poverty, racial divisions, lack of parental supervision, lack of employment opportunities, break down in family structure, and violent movies and t.v shows. After people started to join gangs for one or several of the reasons they realized that gangs shared companionship, protection, fast money, training, power, and self esteem. Gang members started to think that the benefits were better than no gang, and the population of gangs boomed. In January of 1992 the U.S Attorney General announced that 300 FBI agents were going to investigate street gangs. They were trying to reduce the amount of gangs in the U.S. Schools started to forbid wearing certain clothing, tried to get parents more involved, provide more sports, and drama classes, and add gang and drug prevention into school curricula (Egendorf, 112). I found out that kid are being pulled to gangs when they are only thirteen years old. The gangs are getting worse and worse as the years go by.

The Crips and the bloods were the two largest African American gangs in L.A in the late 1900. People say that there is no war going on in America right now, but actually the biggest war is right he with gangs (Crips and Bloods). The "war" has been going on for 39 years. In the past 20 years in L.A county there has been over 15,000 gang related deaths. "I grew up in the hood, I was born in the hood, I was raised in the hood, and I'm going to die in the hood" (309). Police have beat and inprisoned black people for no other reason that because they were black. They were supposedly driving drunk, or thought to rob a bank. They had really done nothing. These gangs in L.A originate in South Los Angeles right in between the American dream houses. Blacks were not aloud to leave their area or pass Avalon Blvd. or police would come up and ask them why they were there. Lynwoord and South Gate were white communites where black people were not excepted, they stayed in Watts. Young black teenagers seemed to be the most threating people, like people who will commit crimes. Kids weren't aloud to join white boy scouts because of complaining parents and kids started their own clubs which people started to call them "gangs." There was a riot on Avalon Blvd. with over a 1,000 black people, over 20 arrests had taken place, and the LAPD said it was a outrage. T. Rodgers said that gangs started to try to express fear more than anything. Gangs showed that they had to look good, and always stay up on their dress code. Crack/Cocaine was introduced on the streets of LA in 1981. "Crack" was what broke up the town, the homes, and the familys.

Gangs have been present in America for a very long time. Until recent years, however, the issues surrounding gangs have not been as ever present as they are today. People began popularizing gangs in the 1920's. The gang leaders became celebrities, with nicknames like "Scarface," "Mad Dog," and "Bugs" (Newton, 12). Thirty years after the "Roaring Twenties", television became a big part in the average American life. Gangs were now featured on the big screen, giving America a good laugh. The characters Americans saw on T.V. weren't accurately portrayed, though their adventures robbing banks and such were common occurrences in American cities. These events weren't something to laugh at, however. The bank robberies and and bootleggers of the 1920's and 30's weren't something to be put into a cartoon for people to enjoy. These gangs grew in big cities, and they originated from poverty and low-living (13).

Drugs and alcohol are a common reason for the forming of a gang. Illegal possession of alcohol was common during the "Prohibition Era", when the United States passed the 18th Amendment, banning the production, consumption, or possession of alcohol (Newton, 26). During this time, Chicago broke out into what's known as the "Windy City liquor wars" of 1920 -33, which is the time when alcohol was prohibited. During this time, approximately 627 people were killed by Chicago liquor gangsters, causing havoc in the busy city. On Valentines Day, 1929, Chicago gunmen dressed as police officers killed off six North Side Gang members (their rivals). This fight was very commonly known by Americans. The leader of the North Side Gang, George Moran ("Bugs"), was not present at this shooting. Some believe Al Capone, a rival gang member and famous killer of the twenties and thirties, was behind these killings. However, it has not been proved by any factual information. (Newton, 26). Gangs formed around the desire for "liquor territories", areas where they could control the illegal trafficking of alcohol. Chicago was not the only city that suffered from these horrid "booze wars"; These fights were occurring in many cites spread across the country, including Los Angeles, New York, and Miami (27).

Gangs are a major problem in America. The number of gangs in America has steadily increased since the 1980-1990 period. From 1990 to 2000, there seemed to be a slow decrease. In recent years, the gang problem has shown it is going in the opposite direction, progressing further to become an even more present problem. From 2000 till 2007, there has been a +25 percent increase of gang activity. This includes rural and suburban towns, and even smaller cities, which showed an increase of +27 percent. In suburban areas, there has been a dramatic increase of approximately +33 percent (Howell). This affects ever American, not just Americans living in big cities. In fact, the number of gangs in bigger cities has only shown a +12 percent increase from 2000 to 2007 (Howell).

Source Annotation

1) Gangs in America. National Center for Victims of Crime, 1993. 11 May 2011.

Summary: In this source it provides you with the main questions about gangs. It has the overview of gangs, the effect that gangs have on people, why gangs exist, what can be done to stop the gangs by schools, the state, law enforcement, prosecution, corrections, and probation of gangs. It tells you basically where they came from, and now how to get rid of them.
Assess: The information is thorough, it gives you dates, number of how many people were in the gangs, factual information, and the who what when where why how.
Reflect: I will use this site for the main information on how gangs start and why people join gangs.

2) Laura K. Egendorf. GANGS Opposing Viewpoints. David L. Bender. San Diego. 2001. Print. 11 May 2011.

Summary: This book will give me more information specifically on gangs. It explains reasons that the author (Lewis Yablonsky) thinks that kids join gangs like, poor parenting, need of power, and peer pressure.
Assess: The information is thorough but is about ten years old. I want to use the more broad information so that it isn't based ten years ago.
Reflect: I'm going to use this source for how gangs are threats now (Present, 2001) and what gangs do.

3)"Independent Lens . CRIPS AND BLOODS: Made in America | PBS." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 11 May 2011. <>.

Summary: This source provides interviews with current and former gang members, educators, historians, and family members. It will provide good quotes and peoples real stories.
Assess: The information is coming right from people that were in gangs and their family members, they are true stories.
Reflect: I'm going to get quotes and short stories that the gang members tell.

1) Robert Walker. "Gangs OR Us- Identifying Street Gangs; Prison Gangs". 14 Jan 2011. Web. 10 May 2011.

Summary: This website provides "myths" and truths about the gangs the Bloods and Crips. It supplies multimedia information, including pictures, video and audio. It focuses on the conflict between the Bloods and the Crips, and explains specific details of their formations, their conflicts, and their objectives. This is a very good site when it comes to thorough information.

Assess: The content of this website includes thorough details about the two major gangs in America, the Bloods and Crips. It includes a significant amount of information and uses a lot of factual information involving crime rates and such. The information is also obviously very close to the truth, because it is proving myths false. There is a whole page of sources that the website uses.

Reflect: When I talk about the Bloods and Crips specifically, I will use information from this website. Though it does not have as much information about gangs in general, it focuses on two of the most conflicted gangs in America. These gangs are very famous and will be a good thing to focus on for my overview. The information is very thorough and detailed, and will be good to reference in my overview.

2) Howell, James C., Arlen Egley, and Christina O'Donnell. "Frequently Asked Questions About Gangs." National Gang Center™. Web. 13 May 2011.

Summary: This website provides answers to common questions about gangs in America. It provides statistical data and cites its sources. This website has a lot of details and gives answers to frequently asked questions about gangs.

Assess: This website is very helpful, it states information clearly without having to search for it for too long. You can find the information you need with hyperlinks at the top of the page. These hyperlinks are titled with the questions you may have, and you can click on them to be directed to the part of the page the information you are seeking is located.

Reflect: I can definitely use this website to provide answers to commonly asked questions about gangs in America. This will provide simple data source for me to cite, and the information this website provides is very thorough. I'm going to use this website.

3) Newton, Michael. Gangs and Gang Crime. New York, NY: Chelsea House, 2008. Print.

Summary: This book explains how gangs developed in America. It goes into detail, featuring information about the "Roaring Twenties" up until more modern gangs in society today. It features information about the Crips and Bloods, and shows how people cope with living near gang-ridden areas.

Assess: This book focuses on what information I need, including lots of factual information about how gangs have developed in America over time. It supplies a lot of information, and has 9 chapters that focus on different aspects of gang culture. It is a very general gang book, however. It will be hard to sift through information because this book supplies so much.

Reflect: This book will be good to use for general statistics and information on gangs in America. It includes so much information that it may take a while to find decent facts, however it is a very good source. I will definitely use this book as a source for information about how gangs have developed in America over the years, and how they have grown since.

Reflections and Conclusions

I didn't think that gangs were as big of a deal as they really are in America today. Gangs show big threats to Americans, and to the society that they live in. I think that gangs all started because how the white people treated black and colored people and it grew of that. Once gang members started to relize that they had power and control gangs boomed in america. I feel like gangs never had a good effect on america. They brought drugs and alcohol into communities and put crime rates up. I didn't know nearly how many gangs there were until I researched it and found out there was close to 100,000 gang members through out the US. I couldn't believe what gangs had done to peoples lives and ruining familys.

I didn't understand the massive problem gangs presented to suburban areas. I was under the impression that gangs were popular in bigger cites and urban areas. However, gang activity has been increasing rapidly in suburban and even rural areas in the recent years. This shocked me, because my view of gangs was that they carried guns and robbed banks. This seems to not be the case anymore, gangs are present in suburban areas where families thrive. The increase of gang activity in the past decade has been +33 percent gang activity! This affects families with children, families that moved to suburban areas to be protected from things like gang activity. These areas are not a safe haven for children or anyone for that matter. Suburban areas are supposed to be a place where a family can feel safe and live a good life. This rapid growth of gang activity has resulted in the safety level of suburban neighborhoods going down (Howell).


This is a preview for Crips And Bloods^^
If You want to watch the full movie you can watch it here on Netflix here.

Percent Change in Estimated Number of Gang-Problem Jurisdictions, From 2002 to 2007 Bar Chart
Percent Change in Estimated Number of Gang-Problem Jurisdictions, From 2002 to 2007 Bar Chart

A graph displaying the percent of increased gang activity in specific areas. To see the text description of this graph, click here.

This is a picture that different gang members used In L.A.

Works Cited (in Alphabetical Order)

Gangs in America. National Center for Victims of Crime, 1993. 11 May 2011.

Howell, James C., Arlen Egley, and Christina O'Donnell. "Frequently Asked Questions About Gangs." National Gang Center™. Web. 13 May 2011.

Independent Lens . CRIPS AND BLOODS: Made in America | PBS." PBS: Public Broadcasting Service. Web. 11 May 2011.

Laura K. Egendorf. GANGS Opposing Viewpoints. David L. Bender. San Diego. 2001. Print. 11 May 2011

Newton, Michael. Gangs and Gang Crime. New York, NY: Chelsea House, 2008. Print.

Robert Walker. "Gangs OR Us- Identifying Street Gangs; Prison Gangs". 14 Jan 2011. Web. 10 May 2011.