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Gang Violence

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n discussing banditry in Chinese history, Barrington Moore, Jr. suggests that gangsterism as a "form of self-help which victimizes others" may appear in societies which lack strong "forces of law and order"; he characterizes European feudalism as "mainly gangsterism that had become society itself and acquired respectability".[6]

A wide variety of gangs, such as the Order of Assassins, the Damned Crew, Adam the Leper's gang, Penny Mobs, Indian Thugs, Chinese Triads, Snakehead, Japanese Yakuza, Irish mob, Pancho Villa's Villistas, Dead Rabbits, American Old West outlaw gangs, Bowery Boys, Chasers, the Italian mafia, Jewish mafia, and Russian Mafia crime families have existed for centuries. According to some estimates the Thuggee gangs in India murdered 1 million people between 1740 and 1840.[7]

The 17th century saw London "terrorized by a series of organized gangs",[8] some of them known as the Mims, Hectors, Bugles, and Dead Boys. These gangs often came into conflict with each other. The members dressed "with colored ribbons to distinguish the different factions."[9] Many poor orphans in Victorian London survived by joining pick-pocketing gangs controlled by adult criminals.[citation needed] At the beginning of the 19th century, child criminals in Britain were punished in the same way as adults. They were sent to adult prisons, transported to the various Australian penal colonies, flogged, and sentenced to death for crimes such as petty theft.[10][11][12]

All the major cities of Victorian England in the late 19th century had gangs.[13][14] Chicago had over 1,000 gangs in the 1920s.[15] These early gangs had reputations for many criminal activities, but in most countries could not profit from drug trafficking prior to drugs being made illegal by laws such as the 1912 International Opium Convention and the 1919 Volstead Act.[citation needed] Gang involvement in drug trafficking increased during the 1970s and 1980s, but some gangs continue to have minimal involvement in the trade.[16]

In the United States, the history of gangs began on the East Coast in 1783 following the American Revolution.[17] The emergence of the gangs was largely attributed to the vast rural population immigration to the urban areas. The first street-gang in the United States, the 40 Thieves, began around the late 1820s in New York City. In 1850, New York City recorded more than 200 gang wars fought largely by youth gangs.[18] The gangs in Washington D.C. had control of what is now Federal Triangle, in a region then known as Murder Bay[19]

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