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            Is there gang activity present in your community? Only recently have gangs come into the limelight, even though modern ones have been in existence since the early 1970's. Many people are unaware of the actual danger they pose. How did they come about and why do they continue to exist? Although gangs can instigate serious crimes and are often hard to directly target, there are ways to combat these malicious street gangs.
             The first street gangs were formed in the 1920's and 1930's. The gangs around this time were completely juvenile in their nature. Once members grew up, they would start to distance themselves from their gang. Back in this time, they were usually called "clubs," and their main purpose was to help black people defend themselves against the white "clubs." It wasn't until the 1960's that the term "gang" was used. The gangs that are most prevalent in American cities today, the Crips and the Bloods, came into being during the 1970's and 1980's when Raymond Washington created a gang known as the Baby Avenues. They would eventually become known as the Crips. In the early 1980's, several gangs formed an alliance against the Crips; they called themselves the Bloods.
             Many people think that poverty and helplessness alone cause individuals to join street gangs. This is not completely true; even though horrible conditions may leave some with no hope for a better life, but pride also plays a role. Some people see gangs as a way of getting money and goods without having to have other help them. Also, racism can play a role. As was mentioned before, the early black gangs came together in reaction to racism. This does not play as major of a role as it used to, however, because most gang members today target those of their own race.
             Gangs account for a very large percentage of the crime rate, especially in large cities such as Los Angeles. Probably the crime most tied to gangs is drug dealing.

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