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History of Street Gangs in the United States

History of Street Gangs in the United States

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Published by Platos Library
The first active gangs in Western civilization were reported by Pike (1873, pp. 276–277), a widely respected chronicler of British crime. He documented the existence of gangs of highway robbers in England during the 17th century, and he speculates that similar gangs might well have existed in our mother country much earlier, perhaps as early as the 14th or even the 12th century. But it does not appear that these gangs had the features of modern-day, serious street gangs.1 More structured gangs did not appear until the early 1600s, when London was “terrorized by a series of organized gangs calling themselves the Mims, Hectors, Bugles, Dead Boys … who found amusement in breaking windows, [and] demolishing taverns, [and they] also fought pitched battles among themselves dressed with colored ribbons to distinguish the different factions” (Pearson, 1983, p. 188).
The history of street gangs in the United States begins with their emergence on the East Coast around 1783, as the American Revolution ended (Sante, 1991). But there is considerable justification for questioning the seriousness of these early gangs. The best available evidence suggests that the more serious street gangs likely did not emerge until the early part of the nineteenth century (Sante, 1991).
The first active gangs in Western civilization were reported by Pike (1873, pp. 276–277), a widely respected chronicler of British crime. He documented the existence of gangs of highway robbers in England during the 17th century, and he speculates that similar gangs might well have existed in our mother country much earlier, perhaps as early as the 14th or even the 12th century. But it does not appear that these gangs had the features of modern-day, serious street gangs.1 More structured gangs did not appear until the early 1600s, when London was “terrorized by a series of organized gangs calling themselves the Mims, Hectors, Bugles, Dead Boys … who found amusement in breaking windows, [and] demolishing taverns, [and they] also fought pitched battles among themselves dressed with colored ribbons to distinguish the different factions” (Pearson, 1983, p. 188).
The history of street gangs in the United States begins with their emergence on the East Coast around 1783, as the American Revolution ended (Sante, 1991). But there is considerable justification for questioning the seriousness of these early gangs. The best available evidence suggests that the more serious street gangs likely did not emerge until the early part of the nineteenth century (Sante, 1991).

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Published by: Platos Library on Sep 21, 2013
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