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Old 06-24-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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I was reading a 1981 article about the L.A music scene. What I found most interesting was a sentence that wasn't directly related to the article. It said that while punk rockers have a reputation of being violent they can't compare to the gang member thugs in South Central.

I didn't realize there was a gang problem as early as 1981. It seemed like a more innocent time. I never even heard the term "thug" related to gang members back then. I didn't hear about the LA gang epedemic until the late 80s/early 90s. In fact I heard about it all the time back then. That seemed to be the peak of gangs. I don't hear as much now. Either there has been a decline in gang activity in the past 20 years or we have become so rotten and corrupt as a culture that we think gangs are "normal".

So how long have LA gangs existed and do they have less members now than when the media gave them a lot of attention?
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Old 06-24-2011, 11:54 AM
 
Location: California
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Your notion that gangs began in the 80s is very wrong. The crips began forming in the 60's and the bloods began forming in the 70's. There is an autobiography called "Monster" by Kody Scott who grew up in South Central in a Crip gang and he talks about all the murders and drive-bys that he was doing in the 60's and 70's. There were black gangs even before the crips and bloods though, though they were small and not nearly as violent, for example the "Bishops" and the "Knights". And some of the oldest latino street gangs go back to the 1930s. Things did get notably more brazen and violent in the 80s due to the introduction of crack cocaine. Gangs capitlized on the drug and profited tremendously, giving them the ability to buy LOTS of guns. The amount of weapons on the street plus the vicious competition for drug territory caught the attention of the media.

And no, the gang violence in LA has not died down. It just doesn't get as much attention in the media anymore. You still see it though sometimes, such as in the History channel's "Gangland" they cover several LA based gangs and the violence and trechery they've brought to the community in the 2000s.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:45 PM
 
Location: South Bay
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you're way off, gangs have been an issue in LA for decades. before street gangs there was the mob, which dates back to the 20s and 30s, if not earlier.
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Old 06-24-2011, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Earth
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Originally Posted by BRinSM View Post
you're way off, gangs have been an issue in LA for decades. before street gangs there was the mob, which dates back to the 20s and 30s, if not earlier.
The decline in the power of the mob was one of many reasons why street gangs got nastier. When the mob was stronger the street gangs were more "under control". The oldest street gang I know of in L.A. is Dogtown which goes back over 100 years but there are some others which go back to before WW2, like White Fence and 38th Street. Some varrios evolved out of motorcycle clubs or car clubs. But when the prison gang wars broke out in the '70s and the Crips and Bloods spread rapidly the violence got considerably worse - and the crack epidemic would make things exponentially worse. However there definitely was a pretty heavy problem with South Central gangs in the late '70s - which busing spread to areas that had little or no gang activity and areas in which gangs existed but weren't dangerous. Just because things got considerably worse right afterwards doesn't mean there wasn't already a serious problem. Crack, however, made things 10 times worse than they'd already been.

Another reason why street gangs didn't become a bigger problem earlier was that L.A. city and county had plentiful youth programs in the 1940s-60s as certain politicians like Mayor Bowron and Supervisor Ford were looking at what was going on in the eastern cities and wanted to prevent that from happening in L.A. Said programs by today's standards would seem very paternalistic but they were better than nothing. When Parker became police chief the LAPD's youth programs were cut but nevertheless there were still plentiful youth programs like city and county sponsored car and motorcycle clubs deep into the '60s - until politicians like Reagan, Yorty, Debs, etc. gained influence and said programs were cut. Some even lasted into the '70s, but Prop 13 put an end to what was left. Coincidentally, or perhaps not coincidentally, L.A. became the "gang capital" shortly after Prop 13 was passed.

Gang violence persists and continues to take too many lives. It's not heard about AS much because of the overall numbers within the city of L.A. decreasing slightly, due to gentrification, suburbanization of gangs, gang members being part of the movement of Angelenos to other cities, better policing (including gang interventions), and La Eme exercising more control over street gangs and behaving more and more like a true organized crime network. I.e. too much violence is bad for business and the level of violence depends on how much money's being made. Former Chief Bratton said that 20% of the gangs commit 80% of the gang violence which sounds accurate. Some claim L.A. is no longer the gang capital and that Chicago has regained this title, but Southern California overall still has more gangs and gang violence than any other region of the US even though L.A. proper may have less. Suburbanization of gangs began much earlier in L.A. than it did in Chicago or the northeastern cities and thus there's far more gang activity in the burbs.

Some background on this subject (this article is VERY long but worthwhile reading for an understanding L.A.'s 20th century history in general and that of not only gangs but youth subcultures and politics): http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstr.../1/mides_1.pdf

Last edited by majoun; 06-24-2011 at 01:51 PM..
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Old 06-24-2011, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Earth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay F View Post
I was reading a 1981 article about the L.A music scene. What I found most interesting was a sentence that wasn't directly related to the article. It said that while punk rockers have a reputation of being violent they can't compare to the gang member thugs in South Central.

I didn't realize there was a gang problem as early as 1981. It seemed like a more innocent time. I never even heard the term "thug" related to gang members back then. I didn't hear about the LA gang epedemic until the late 80s/early 90s. In fact I heard about it all the time back then. That seemed to be the peak of gangs. I don't hear as much now. Either there has been a decline in gang activity in the past 20 years or we have become so rotten and corrupt as a culture that we think gangs are "normal".

So how long have LA gangs existed and do they have less members now than when the media gave them a lot of attention?
The term "thug" comes from British ruled India in the 19th century and then spread to Britain and then the rest of the English speaking world including the US. It had been in use in 1981 for many, many decades but in a general sense, to describe any violent criminals (including the LAPD...). Black gangs didn't embrace the term to describe themselves until the '90s, however.
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by majoun View Post
The term "thug" comes from British ruled India in the 19th century and then spread to Britain and then the rest of the English speaking world including the US. It had been in use in 1981 for many, many decades but in a general sense, to describe any violent criminals (including the LAPD...). Black gangs didn't embrace the term to describe themselves until the '90s, however.
Thanks for all the intersting history. I didn't realize gangs go back that far.

In this 1981 article they specifically made a refrence to South Central gang members as being thugs "gun-toting thugs" to be exact. The author probably had no idea how ahead of her time she was by saying that about black gangs.
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Armsanta Sorad
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Gangs in Los Angeles have long existed before 1900. I heard there were Tomato and some Tong Gangs during before that period.

Overtime, the local gangs have evolved into more dangerous groups.

Of course, Los Angeles had the local Mafia family during that time (which is still active but not as prominent) and the Jewish Mob. This was during the 1920s through the 1950s when organized crime was rampant.

Last edited by West of Encino; 06-24-2011 at 02:24 PM..
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Earth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by West of Encino View Post
Gangs in Los Angeles have long existed before 1900. I heard there were Tomato and some Gangs during before that period.

Overtime, the local gangs have evolved into more dangerous groups.

Of course, Los Angeles had the local Mafia family during that time (which is still active but not as prominent) and the Jewish Mob. This was during the 1920s through the 1950s when organized crime was rampant.
And, even earlier, plenty of Old West outlawdom. However, Old West California had lower rates of every type of serious crime except murder than California has today. The murder rates were much, much higher.
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Old 06-25-2011, 03:10 PM
 
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How dangerous is LA for your average person who is not at all affiliated with gangs. I was told that there are numerous random shootings. Should I move to another state other than California?
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Old 06-25-2011, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Earth
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Originally Posted by Atl to Cali View Post
How dangerous is LA for your average person who is not at all affiliated with gangs. I was told that there are numerous random shootings. Should I move to another state other than California?
Depends where one is living, where one spends one's time, and one's demographics. If you look at the L.A. Times Homicide Report or LAPD Crime Maps there are clear patterns to where violence occurs. Sometimes violence occurs outside of those areas, but it most often tends to occur in the same places. Even within neighborhoods some streets are worse than others.

L.A. is much safer than Atlanta is, and, as a whole, when measured against other US cities, is about average in levels of violent crime.
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