Wednesday, 7 December 2011

American gangs' history.

Nice description of America's gangs' history.

Closer look at street gangs

Clearly, the most contested boroughs, or those with most gangs, appear to be Hackney, Newham, Waltham Forest (all east London), parts of south London - most notably Lambeth and Southwark, Enfield, Haringey and Islington in north London and parts of west and north west London borders (Brent & Westminster).

The shaded areas represent boroughs with the highest volumes of youth violence. Those represented by the darkest shade have the highest volumes of youth violence, unsurprisingly Lambeth, Southwark and Newham although more surprising is that Enfield is amongst the top.

Boroughs represented by the lightest shades have very low volumes of youth violence, they include Bexley, Hounslow, Kingston upon Thames, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton.

Some of London's Most Widely Known, Reputed, or Publicised, Gangs

Below is a list of some of London's largest, most publicised, and most widely known gangs by area of London (NB this is not definitive, the gangs with the greatest reputations on the streets are not all subject to mass media attention like some of those listed below):

East London (E1-E18):

  • 925 - Hackney, a combination of some historic gang areas situated throughout E9 and E5 (9-2-5) such as Ballance Road to Well Street and the Pembury estate.
  • Beaumont Crew (Base) - One of Waltham Forest's most reputed and longest established gangs going back to the 1990's, older generations have been responsible for a handful of murders in London as well as armed robberies and large scale drug distribution. The younger generation lives on through an alliance with several other local gangs. A veteran member of the gang, aged 33, was recently sentenced for the killing of a rival gang boss. 
  • Holly Street Boys - Hackney, a long history going back decades, best known for their long-standing rivalry with neighbouring London Fields Boys.
  • London Fields Boys -Hackney, one of London's most reputed gangs for over a decade. LFB have been implicated in several murders, most recently that of a 16-year-old girl in Hoxton, whilst older generations have established links with criminals all over London (like many gangs listed here above and below).

There are numerous other gangs of note in east London, predominantly in Hackney although the once tight-lipped criminal underworld of Newham has began to harbour a host of street gangs. Newham has become one of London's highest crime boroughs for robbery and serious violence in recent years.

North London (N1-N22):

  • Love of Money (and now Hoxton), Hackney, developed from one of London's oldest street gangs beginning in the 1980's. 
  • Tottenham, Haringey, has long been the most reputed gang area of north London beginning with the 'Broadwater Farm Posse' on the Farm (Broadwater Farm) from as far back as the late 1970's. This area has gone through multiple manifestations since with the infamous Tottenham Mandem to todays BWF (Broadwater Farm) gang.
  • Wood Green MOB, Haringey, is arguably one of the largest north London gangs in terms of membership with multiple generations going by various names (sets or cliques) for over a decade. Well regarded rapper G-Money hails from Wood Green. He was given an ASBO, that some may argue infringed on his human rights, that amongst other things restricts his expression through music. Despite the ASBO he continues to make popular 'road music' (see Back Now music video and note disclaimer "WARNING WE DONT PROMOTE VIOLENCE WE JUST MAKE GOOD MUSIC). 

North West London (NW1-NW11):

The vast majority of most well renowned North West London gangs are located in the borough of Brent and include the Suspect Gang and South Kilburn gangs with their rivals from the SMG Bloods alliance, most notably Kensal Green Bloods.

Other North West London gangs worth mentioning are the QC Bloods from Queen's Crescent in the borough of Camden who are arguably the borough's most dominant gang currently.

South London (SE1-SE28 and SW1-SW20):

  • The once dominant Ghetto Boys, Lewisham, and their follow on generations such as 'Shower' have been responsible for a dozen murders in London since the late 1990's.
  • Peckham Boys, Southwark, without a doubt one of the most infamous, most reputed and most dangerous gangs in the whole of London even despite recent internal difficulties.
  • The Stick'em Up Kids, a follow on from the once infamous Junction Boys, are one of the largest gangs in south London covering much of Wandsworth.

The London Borough of Lambeth has long been one of the most, and often the most, violent London boroughs with the highest number of murder cases in the last decade. Lambeth often takes credit for birthing the generation of London gang 'Colours' with homegrown Blood and Crip influenced gangs alongside the likes of 'Organised Crime' and newer manifestation 'Gas Gang'.

West London (W1-W14):

West London is often forgotten about with its criminal gangs often moving more quietly. The MDP generations (Murder Dem Pussies), however, were at one point one of the most widely known gangs in London, hailing from across Ealing and Hammersmith & Fulham, the gang and its associates were responsible for several murders in the space of just a few years in the mid-2000's. Today in west London it is the Mozart Bloods (named after an estate) that have been attracting local headlines through their conflict with South Kilburn which claimed two young lives in recent years.

Broken Britain- Broken Society

Broken Britain- "broken society" in "moral collapse".

 Between 6 and 10 August 2011, several London boroughs and districts of cities and towns across England suffered widespread rioting, looting and arson.

5.15pm: The peaceful vigil
At 5.15pm, 120 friends and family of Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old black man who was shot by police, set off from the Broadwater Farm estate where he lived and marched in silence to Tottenham Police Station on the high street.
Carrying placards which read: “He was a family man, not a gangster,” they gathered outside the station and began to question the police officers guarding the entrance over the killing.
Frustrated by the officers’ refusal to answer them, some of the protesters lay down in the road, forcing police to cordon off the street to traffic.
The gathering remained peaceful two hours later when thousands of football fans streamed past after watching Tottenham Hotspur play Athletic Bilbao at White Hart Lane.
But the mood turned ugly as darkness began to fall and gangs of young men wearing baseball caps and hoodies gathered at the periphery of the vigil.
Rumours began to spread on Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger that the taxi in which Mr Duggan was travelling when he was killed had been riddled with bullets, and that he had dropped his gun before being shot.
Stories also began to circulate by text and online that the father-of-four was shot on the ground, at point-blank range.
Members of the N17 gang of which Mr Duggan was allegedly a member are believed to have used mobile phones and social networking sites to organise a temporary truce with the rival N22, N9 and N15 gangs, calling on their enemies to descend upon the station and turn their hostility on the police.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Information initially was predominantly drawn from personal experience. We grew up in estates across London plagued by gun violence, drugs and gangs and have lost close friends and family members to this lifestyle (either dead or in jail). Most of our detailed information comes directly from those involved or associated to those involved. In recent years this has expanded to speaking with professionals such as teachers and youth offending workers. When we started this there was little available on the internet or in books etc, not sure if there was even anything online. We have some very significant contacts across London who we are very grateful to for helping contribute to the areas we knew little about. In recent years we have been able to take advantage of the imagery and keep up to date with the younger generation through various open source information such as MySpace, YouTube, online forums, Facebook, national and local news articles.
Site founder;
Meanwhile throughout 2008 the identity of the gangs became much stronger with the wearing of colours and development of other gang definers such as symbolism, territorial markings and the recruitment of new younger generations.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Brief History

Street Gangs / Youth Gangs

The City of Westminster is best known for its tourist attractions - home to numerous tourist hotspots such as the 'West End', Soho, Chinatown, Houses of Parliament, Piccadily Circus and Leicester Square. Sitting beyond these areas are some of the cities most deprived housing estates, some which have been synonymous with crime and gangs for many years. The earliest documented gangs in this area were composed of young fighters. In the late 1880's the "Lisson Grove Gang" fought pitched battles with their rivals from nearby Tottenham Court Road - "Fitzroy Place Boys". The feud resulted in a murder at Regent's Park in 1888 following a teen 'gang fight'. The Harrow Road area, which includes the Mozart estate (once dubbed 'Crack City' for its drug problems), and the nearby Lisson Green estate are two of the longest ongoing gang areas of the borough in more modern times. During the 1980's, area conflicts and rivalries were a common feature amongst a minority of youths from these areas, one of the earliest named gangs was the Bengali Green Manz.

By the turn of the 1990's groups of young men from places like Mozart and Lisson Green were becoming involved in more sinister criminal activities such as the sale of drugs. Accompanying crimes such as robbery and gun violence were also becoming more common. West London, spread around an epicentre of Shepherd's Bush and Ladbroke Grove, in 1991 ranked alongside east and south London boroughs in terms of volume of homicides. Another area of Westminster, Paddington, was an extension of this and had begun to come to notice for what was then a new influx of 'Yardie' gangs. In one case, a 32-year-old man was hurled 50ft from the balcony of a fifth floor flat on the Wessex Gardens estate near Westbourne Park Road. Reported as a Yardie drug feud, the suspects were described as two African-Americans. They threatened the victim at gun point for money owed to them from a crack deal. When an argument broke out they held him over the balcony before letting him drop. Just weeks following the Wessex Gardens incident a 23-year-old man was shot dead on Harrow Road. The men tore the victims £200 gold Gucci chain from his neck and ran off. Moments later they came back, demanded the victims gold rings, and then shot him in the head. The suspects were in their early twenties.

Whilst the drug dealing crews and robbers were causing casual random violence througout parts of inner London, the next generation of youth gangs were in their development. Harrow Road and Mozart prevailed as Westminster's local gang areas, however, the West End became somewhat a setting for non-local gangs. Places such as Trocadero were a draw for youth gangs from across London and in the mid-1990's reports regarding the emergence of 'Triad' street gangs began to gain momentum in the media. It was believed that young people, predominantly Asian but nonetheless regardless of ethnicity, were being recruited into criminal youth gangs by gangsters belonging to the 14K and Wo Shing Wo Triad gangs. Meanwhile, local gang rivalries had historically been ignited in schools across Westminster, sometimes because of cultural differences between youths, or because of area rivalries. In 1995, a playgorund 'tiff' later led to the murder of school headmaster Philip Lawrence in Maida Vale. Mr Lawrence of St George's School suffered a fatal stab wound whilst trying to help a young boy at the centre of a 'gang feud' that was linked to Triad influenced street gangs. Learco Chindamo was sentenced to fourteen years for the murder. Numerous stories in the media have claimed he was a member of a Triad gang, although which one depends on which article you read. No fewer than seven Triad gang names were put forward as being the gang Chindamo belonged to. They included the SW Triads, Wo Shing Wo, 14K and Venom. Soon after Learco Chindamo was released from prison he was arrested for a robbery which took place in November 2010.

A new wave of 'Yardie' violence erupted in West London by the end of the 1990's and commanded considerable media attention. Whilst the youth gangs were still active, their involvement in serious violence was far less frequent than that of the drug crews and organised criminals. Between 1998 and 2001 there were three murders linked to Chinatown's Triad groups. There was also a spate of shooting deaths. One young man from north London was shot dead outside a nightlcub following a row in Golden Square. In another incident, Jamaican born Rodney Deano Cain, a suspected drug dealer, was shot three times before he was found dead in his flat at Gloucester Terrace, Paddington. Police believe he had been killed by rival dealers and they found $5,000 buried in his garden, which they believed the killers had been looking for.

By 2006-07, when street gang culture was becoming a constant issue in the media, numerous named groups and gangs became apparent in the City of Westminster. There was still the long established Lisson Green Mandem and Bengali Green Manz. Other nearby gangs included the Edgware Road Boys, whose younger associated gang are known as Kurdz Taking Over, and the nearby Church Street estate became home to Congolese Section. Around the Harrow Road area, an allegiance of gangs emerged known as the 'Horror Road' alliance. This gang was composed of several sets including Grey Days, Street Dreams, C.R.I.M.E Set and Grimiest Movement. The Mozart estate became home to the Mozart Bloods, whilst the older generation joined a three-way allegiance known as SMG. Harrow Road and the Lisson Green areas have a long ongoing rivalry within Westminster, each group also has rivalries extending into the neighbouring boroughs such as Brent and Kensington & Chelsea (Ladbroke Grove). A report into the gang issue (Working With Men - Consultation Evaluation) in Westminster was commissioned in 2007, amongst the findings it identified that tensions often arose because of differences between various communities (black, Asian, Kurdish etc..) within local schools in north Westminster.

Since the report, the number of gangs in the borough has grown with further developments in the south west (SW1 postal district) of Westminster and also the establishment of the Maida Vale Mob in north Westminster. In SW1, several estates across this postal district make up 'Pimz Town' (Pimlico). Gangs within Pimz Town include 'Catch Them Murderers' from the Churchill Gardens estate, Page Street gang from the Regency and Millbank estates, and E-Block from the Ebury Bridge area. Since 2009, there has been a growing number of reports on gang incidents involving young people from these areas. They include stories of young people being involved in violence, stabbings and the dealing of class A drugs. Despite the increased number of gangs, and an apparent increase in violence involving the gangs of north Westminster throughout 2011, the most talked about case has been that of schoolboy Sofyen Belamouadden.
The teenagers death was one of the most publicised and frequently reported on cases of recent years. This is largely owing to the setting, a packed Victoria train station, amongst hundreds of innocent onlookers in an area covered with CCTV. The attack, which involved over two dozen youths and took place during the rush hour, saw the teen chased down and stabbed to death in the ticket hall of the station. Many of the people involved in the incident have been brought to trial for murder as a joint enterprise. All the suspects were from south London; on the 15th May 2011 two youths were convicted of manslaughter whilst numerous others faced sentences for manslaughter, violent disorder and conspiracy to cause GBH. It is believed the incident occurred after a fight was arranged on Facebook stemming from issues between groups of youths at a nearby school. The media have avoided naming the gangs involved, Sofyen was believed to be an associate of the GFL (Gangsters For Life) set from West London, a younger generation to the MDP gang.

Street Gangs

Gangs definition-  A relatively durable, predominantly street-based group of young people
who (1) see themselves (and are seen by others) as a discernible group, (2)
engage in a range of criminal activity and violence, (3) identify with or lay
claim over territory, (4) have some form of identifying structural feature,
and (5) are in conflict with other, similar, gangs.

Face: Gang leader
Gangbanger- Gang member
Rep- Reputation
Shotter- Street level drug dealer
Soldier- Street level gang member
Tiny- Very young gang member
Wannabe Person- aspiring to be a gang member
Younger- Mid-/ low-level gang member

-Between 600 and 700 young people are estimated to be directly ganginvolvedin the London Borough of Waltham Forest alone, with an
additional 8,100 people affected by gangs.
- In the past 5 years there has been an 89% increase in the number of under-
16s admitted to hospital with serious stab wounds, and a 75% increase
amongst older teenagers.
-The percentage of school children reporting having carried a knife
increased by more than 50% between 2002 and 2005.

The role of violence:
-A single, often minor, act of disrespect: for example
someone looking at a gang member in the ‘wrong’
way. To maintain his reputation the gang member
must respond, normally through violence.
-Territorial conflict: for example someone from a rival postcode entering a
gang’s territory. This is seen as an affront to the gang’s power and
reputation, and hence to reinforce this the ‘trespasser’ must be punished.

 Gangs are not new to Britain, but the nature and scale of current gang culture
is fundamentally different fromthat of previous generations. Themodern gang
is the product of the changing economic and social landscape of British society
over the past few decades.
The past few decades have seen an increasing socio-economic divide between
the haves and the have-nots which, coupled with an environment of intense
and overt consumerism, is often explicit in the global city where poverty and wealth sit side-by-side. The decline of industry and the rise of the knowledge economy have been instrumental in
this: significant parts of the working class have become
the workless class and their income has plummeted

Social housing – incubating social breakdown
In addition to a changing labour market came a shift in the function of social
housing: no longer were council estates home to working, stable families and
long-term residents. The introduction in the 1980s of right-to-buy coupled
with a major reduction in new building and a shift in allocations policy has
meant that social housing is now home to some of our most disadvantaged and
vulnerable individuals and families.
The majority of social housing households are now headed by young,
workless lone parents and single men and women, often with incomes below
the poverty line. Gangs are, unsurprisingly, most commonly found in these
highly deprived areas.

Self-worth, the street code and the rise of territorialism
These factors together have created, in certain communities, a generation of
disenfranchised young people. Alienated frommainstreamsociety these young
people have created their own, alternative, society – the gang – and they live by
the gang’s rules: the ‘code of the street’.36
As gangs have become more common over the past decade, territory has
become increasingly important. For many gangs, defending geographical
territory – often a postcode – has become part of their raison d’ĂȘtre, an integral
part of their identity. This, together with the declining age of gang members,
has contributed to the increasingly chaotic nature of gang violence.

‘A group of recurrently associating individuals with identifiable
leadership and internal organisation, identifying with or claiming control
over territory in the community, and engaging either individually or
collectively in violent or other forms of illegal behaviour.

 Street crime is particularly prevalent amongst gang members, serving two
purposes: it is both a source of income and a way of building status and respect.

‘What is clear is that gangs today organise in response not just to
industrialisation and urbanization [sic] but primarily to social
exclusion and the changing spaces of globalizing cities…’

The 1980s
Most commentators on the evolution of the modern gang
trace its origins to the 1980s. The 1980s witnessed massive
economic and social change. Whilst many people
prospered, not everyone could enjoy the rewards of
economic boom. Those in our most deprived
communities became actually poorer compared to the rest
of society. As is demonstrated in the following sections,
street gangs are the products of deprivation and

The divide between rich and poor continues to increase. There are more
people living in severe poverty today than a decade ago.150 Simultaneously we
have witnessed the rise of multi-million pound bonuses. Importantly, the
global city houses both worlds. Here the polar economic extremes sit cheekby-
It is within this urban context that the growth of the modern – ‘postindustrial’
– gang has occurred. As Saskia Sassen argues, globalisation has led
‘…an increasingly sharp tendency towards social and spatial
polarization [sic], partly because power and disadvantage assume some
of their strongest forms in global cities’
And crucially:
‘Wealth and power in global cities today are not the discreet wealth and
power of older elites…In the global city, wealth is very visible, especially
through…the highly public aspects of individual consumption…’151
The divide doesn’t just exist, it exists very visibly: those living in acute
deprivation have a daily reminder, sometimes just by walking to the end of
their street, of what they don’t, and can’t, have. As one
Youth Offending Team (YOT) worker told the Working
‘…showing your wealth is a way of promoting who you
are. People show their wealth in a variety of ways.
Some people go to polomatches and show their wealth
that way. There are people that do it by music. And if
you have footballers earning £90,000 a week and
driving nice cars, a young person doesn’t want to be on
£250 a week from the local store – they want real, live
cash, and they’ll do whatever they have to do to obtain that. As a society
via the media we’ve created this feeling amongst young people where
they can get it now.’
In this environment of intense and overt consumerism – coupled with
profound social breakdown – those excluded from mainstream access often
seek alternative routes. It is no coincidence that in Britain the highest prevalence of gangs is found in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham
and Glasgow – our great global cities.

Social housing became the placing ground for the most
disadvantaged people in society and has now become an incubator of
deprivation, hopelessness and crime: a ‘social apartheid’ has developed.

 Territorialism: from drugs to postcodes

‘…in the 21st century, as the gangs expanded, links with the drug
business became more tenuous and gang territory came to be defined
by neighbourhood and, eventually postcode. The territorial violence
and aggression at this level appears to serve little purpose, providing
instead an arena in which individuals and groups can demonstrate their
fighting prowess and gain ‘respect’.’

Drugs are a lucrative business,175 but to make money
you have to ‘own’ the drugs trade in a particular area, or
‘turf ’. This requires defending it. Hence one of the key
responsibilities of a Younger (young, low level gang
member) or Soldier is to protect the gang’s drug market,
often resulting in inter-gang violence. As Pitts states,
‘violence, or the threat of violence, becomes the primary
means whereby these markets are regulated.’
This situation exists today, but as gangs have become
more common over the past decade, with the ‘gangsta’
lifestyle being modelled to disenfranchised and disaffected young people,
‘respect’ has become the key motivator. Defending territory, often a postcode,
through violence is a way of earning respect. There is still a high chance of
those involved in gangs also being involved in the drugs trade, but street
violence is now much more likely to occur due to personal ‘beefs’; individual
incidents of disrespect.

The street gang in Britain today lives by a street code centered around respect
and violence. To gain respect and notoriety, gang members behave in an
increasingly volatile manner. As one London teenager told the group: ‘you do
crazy things to get noticed by the older guys in gangs.’
The composition and nature of gang culture has shifted: gang members are getting younger; geographical territory is transcending drug territory as the key organising unit; and violence is increasingly important as an articulation of status, making it is increasingly chaotic. Secondly, gangs are mostly commonly found in urban areas of high deprivation, crime and violence, high unemployment and high family breakdown. Thirdly, gang members are predominantly male, in their teens or early twenties, from fatherless families and have had a negative experience of school, often having been excluded. Having identified the what and why, the report then sets out a blueprint for tackling gangs.
 · There are around 170 street gangs in both London and Strathclyde.
 · Gang members are 2½ times more likely to commit a violent offence than non-members.

I found even a whole online book based on gangs in England with its structure explanations and reasoning. Book's link is here