Gangs in the 70's,80's,90's and Now

Tad Broadbent

70's Gangs

Dirty and destitute. This was New York City in the 70's. Pimps, hookers, and drug dealers owned the night. Crime was rampant, and the police were powerless to stop it. Random killings by the "Son of Sam" made New Yorkers even more fearful. The "Black Spades" was one of the largest and most violent Black street gangs in NYC during the 70's. During its heyday, it reportedly had 29 chapters in The Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. The "Black Spades" arose out of the "Savage Seven" because of the increasing number of members.In the year '68 they started to terrorize their neighbourhood and with their activities they laid the groundwork for something that domineered the Bronx during the next 6 years: Streetgangs. Within shortest time gangs appeared on every street corner and names like "Black Spades", " Skulls", "Seven Immortals", "Seven Crowns", "Savage Nomads", "Ching A Ling"(starting out as a street gang in the early 60's and influenced by the Hells Angels the Ching A Lings eventually evolved into a famous motorcycle club), "Black Skulls", "Latin Kings", "Young Lords", "Ghetto Brothers" and many others could be seen everywhere.

Gangs In The 80's

The 1980s saw a huge increase in the number of gangs. All of the ideas of the Black Panther Party and the Brown Berets were completely lost by this time. The gangs were exclusively focused on territory and crime. The beginning of the Crack Epidemic only worsened the effect, as the number of gang sets increased into the hundreds and spread out throughout the country. The neighborhoods of South Central became very separated at this time. In many areas, each block had a different gang, and some blocks had more than one gang on them.

Gangs In The 90's

As the influence of gangs spiraled out of control with the introduction of drugs to the community, the early 1990s saw some of the highest homicide rates ever. However, there was a major drop in homicides after the LA Riots. Much of this has to do with the gang truce that was established among the projects in Watts. In 1993, there was also a major truce among Latino gangs to end drive-bys, and the killing of innocent people. Although the 1990s began very badly, it ended with a decline in the number of gang-related deaths.

Gangs Now

Today, gang-related homicides are at an all time low. Many gang members have found themselves in jail due to a huge police focus on reducing the crime rate. At the same time, there has not been a large decrease in the number of gangs. Today, the political nature of gangs has been completely lost. For many people, gangs fill some sense of family or belonging that was missing in their life, however, it has come at a price. Gangs have had a destructive effect on the community. They have torn apart communities rather than build unity. The media has glorified and created an image of gang members as heroes and survivors. But most people that have been touched by gang violence in their own personal lives know that there is very little postivity that comes out of gangs in the community.

Foreign Influences

Gang culture always has a profound effect on the USA. But more and more foreign gangs are coming and making our games worse. Mexican drug cartels kill for no reason and can't be stopped. Police and government angencies have been stepping up enforcement, and schools have been more protective. Parents are worried and the war on drugs rages on. Mexico has already lost, but not given up, we could be next.