Gangs in America have grown to such large numbers its hard to keep track of which gang is the largest. There is no doubt that the type of gang that is largest are street gangs, as their numbers surpass any type of other gang in the world.
Lets take a look at what the largest street gangs are in America, but first what is a street gang?
What’s a Street Gang
Street gangs are criminal organizations that primarily operate within a specific geographic area, often in urban or suburban settings. These gangs are characterized by a group of individuals who come together for various reasons, such as protection, social belonging, financial gain, or a sense of identity. Street gangs engage in a range of illegal activities, including but not limited to drug trafficking, robbery, extortion, violence, and other forms of criminal behavior. Here are some key characteristics of street gangs:
- Geographic Base: Street gangs typically have a territorial focus and operate within specific neighborhoods or communities. They often establish control over these areas through intimidation, violence, or criminal activity.
- Membership: Gangs consist of members who may be recruited or initiated into the group. Membership can vary widely in terms of age, gender, and background. Gang members may identify with common symbols, colors, or signs to distinguish themselves from rival gangs.
- Criminal Activities: Street gangs engage in various criminal activities to generate income and exert influence. These activities can include drug distribution, theft, burglary, assault, and homicide. Gangs may also participate in organized crime networks.
- Hierarchy: Many street gangs have hierarchical structures with leaders or shot-callers at the top who make decisions and issue orders. Below them, there may be different ranks or roles within the gang, such as enforcers, recruiters, or drug dealers.
- Rivalries: Gangs often have rivalries with other gangs, leading to violent conflicts and territorial disputes. These rivalries can result in ongoing violence and pose a danger to both gang members and the communities they operate in.
- Symbols and Signs: Street gangs use symbols, signs, colors, and graffiti to represent their identity and territory. These symbols can serve as a way to communicate with other gang members and to challenge rival gang members.
- Recruitment: Gangs actively recruit new members, often targeting vulnerable individuals, including youth. Recruitment methods may involve coercion, peer pressure, or promises of protection and belonging.
With the illegal nature of street gangs, there is not really an official rule book on who is the largest gang, but based off presence in the street is a list of some of the largest street gangs in America.
Crips and Bloods
However there are some sets that are bigger than the others, lets take a look at which blood and crip sets are the largest.
Rollin 60s Neighborhood Crips
The Rollin’ 60s Crips, often referred to simply as the Rollin’ 60s or R60s, is a prominent African-American street gang based in Los Angeles, California. This gang is one of several subsets or “sets” affiliated with the larger Crips gang, which is one of the most well-known and established street gangs in the United States. The Rollin’ 60s Crips are named after the neighborhood they originated in, which is around the 60th Street and Western Avenue area in South Los Angeles
Eight Trey Gangster Crips
The Eight Tray Gangster Crips, also known as the 83 Gangster Crips or simply the 83s, is a well-known African-American street gang based in Los Angeles, California. The Eight Tray Gangster Crips were established in the 1970s and originated in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles, specifically around the 83rd Street and Western Avenue area. The “83” in their name refers to their neighborhood and location. The 83GC have a long standing war with the Rollin 60s.
Grape Street Crips
The Grape Street Crips originated in the Jordan Downs public housing complex in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. They were established in the 1970s, and their name is derived from Grape Street, one of the main streets running through their territory. The Grape Street Crips have historically claimed territory in Watts, South Los Angeles, and Compton. Their stronghold in the Jordan Downs housing complex has been a significant part of their territory.
Bounty Hunter Bloods
The Bounty Hunter Bloods originated in the Nickerson Gardens public housing complex, which is located in the Watts neighborhood of South Los Angeles. They were established in the 1970s and have a long history in the area. The BHB have a long standing war with the Grape Streets.
Other gangs that have large numbers include many Hispanic Gangs, here are examples of some large mexican gangs.
18th St or Barrio 18 is mainly mexican street gang that originated in Los Angeles in the 1960s. They have grown since and have become one of the largest transnational gangs with members in USA, Mexico and Central America. Membership is estimated at 30,000-50,000.
Florencia 13, often abbreviated as F13, is a notorious Hispanic street gang based primarily in Los Angeles, California. The gang is known for its involvement in various criminal activities, including drug trafficking, extortion, robbery, and violent crimes. Florencia 13 has a long history dating back to the 1950s and is one of the oldest and most established Hispanic gangs in Los Angeles.
Mara Salvatrucha, commonly known as MS-13, is a notorious transnational criminal organization with its roots in Los Angeles, California. MS-13 is one of the most well-known and dangerous street gangs in the United States and Central America. MS-13 has a significant presence in various U.S. states, particularly in areas with large immigrant populations from Central America. The gang also operates extensively in countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico, where it has established a powerful and often violent presence.
Lets take a look at some other gangs that have high numbers on the east coast.
The Gangster Disciples, often referred to as the GDs, is a prominent African-American street gang that originated in Chicago, Illinois. This gang is one of the largest and most influential gangs in the United States, with a presence in several states. The Gangster Disciples were originally founded by Larry Hoover and David Barksdale in the late 1960s in the South Side of Chicago. The gang has its roots in two separate organizations: the Black Disciples and the Supreme Gangsters, which later merged to form the Gangster Disciples.
The Vice Lords were initially formed in the early 1950s in the Illinois State Training School for Boys in St. Charles, Illinois. It was originally conceived as a social and self-improvement group by a group of young African-American inmates seeking to address issues such as racism, poverty, and social inequality. The Vice Lords have a significant presence in Chicago, particularly on the city’s West Side. They have also expanded their operations to other cities and states, including parts of the Midwest and the southern United States.
This list is a small portion of the actual list of gangs and there are many others. This list is just an example of some of the biggest gangs in North America.