Recently in New Jersey, about 70 gang members were arrested on drug and violence-related charges. They were a part of one of the most powerful street gangs in America: the Crips. So who are the Crips? And which gangs are the most dangerous in America? Well, there are thousands of gangs in the US, but the Department of Justice lists 17 MAIN organizations as “Criminal Street Gangs”. These street gangs differ from motorcycle gangs or prison gangs because they focus on local city chapters in urban neighborhoods, and often recruit young members. Their most prolific activities include selling drugs like Marijuana and Cocaine, and using violence to defend their turf. One of the most well-known and powerful gangs is the Crips, based in Los Angeles, and founded in 1969. They are infamous for wearing blue, and feuding with another, less populous gang, the Bloods. Crips are predominantly African American, and claim between 30 and 50 thousand members in the US. The Gangster Disciples is another African American gang, which is based out of Chicago, and boasts somewhere between 25 and 50 thousand members. The group was founded in the 1960s, and identify themselves with the colors black and blue, along with a star of David.

[ But the most powerful and dangerous gangs in America right now are the 18th Street gang and Mara salvatrucha, AKA MS-13. Both organizations claim 30 to 50 thousand members total, although some affiliates reside in Mexico. Both gangs have a high percentage of members who are illegal aliens and the gangs are based out of Southern California. In addition to drug dealing, both 18th Street and MS-13 are highly involved in drug SMUGGLING and human trafficking across the Mexican-United States border. With their growing membership and increased outbreaks of violence, police forces have directed special attention to both gangs.

In 2004, an FBI task force was specifically created to combat MS-13. Gangs have formed all over the world and throughout history as the result of social marginalization. Although gang members are disproportionately more likely to be imprisoned, or experience poverty in their life, many young people see gangs as an escape from broken homes and bleak prospects. They can also provide a sense of family and support that is lacking elsewhere in a gang member’s life. According to the US government, currently, street gangs are one of the most significant sources of crime, and threats to the general population. Chicago is one of the most violent cities in the United States, due in large part to its gang activity.