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            A gang is defined as a group of people who share common interests, live together in a defined territory and engage in unlawful or criminal activity. Today, on the streets of Los Angeles there are over four hundred street gangs with a membership of 61, 406(LAPD Statistics). The presence of these street gangs and the crime directly related to them is a serious social problem facing the city of Los Angeles. The city's resources have been seriously depleted in attempt to fight back, but in all reality the gangs are clearly winning. Fear is now a word many of the residents of Los Angeles use to describe their neighborhoods, neighborhoods filled with violent crime. Children as young as five years old are walking the streets in gang attire cursing at the police as they drive past. Gangs are social problem which know one can hide from, one in which anyone someday may be a victim of. They are present in all social institutions, which includes family, schools, prisons, businesses, and even churches. The crimes related with gang activity include drug trafficking, rape, extortion, murder, robbery and car jacking. Gangs are no longer a poor man's ghetto problem but are now like a cancer spreading from street to street, a cancer all residents of L.A need to face. I attempt in this paper to do just that, to face this epidemic and take an in-depth look at gangs. By applying the control theory and conflict theories of deviance to gangs my goal is to have a better understanding of the root of the gang problem from a social deviance perspective. .
             Before I am able to analyze gangs from the viewpoint of these theories I feel it is necessary to provide you with the history and background of these gangs. The first gangs to claim the streets of Los Angeles as their turf were Mexican gangs in about the year 1910. Due to revolution and political instability in Mexico there was a great influx of Mexican people to California from 1910-1925.

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