Although there is some debate as to the exact origins of street gangs, many experts agree that the first organized crime gangs formed in Europe or Mexico. The first gangs in the United States are thought to have appeared in New England during the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s. An article posted to Stanford.edu reports that gangs as they are known in modern times originated in California in the 1920s.
Criminal gangs are generally uni-racial, and they are involved in crimes such as arson, grand theft, robbery, assault, homicide and drug trafficking. In the United States, there are African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Caucasian gangs. African-American gangs originated in Los Angeles in the 1920s and originally consisted of family members who collaborated in criminal activities to obtain money. By the 1960s, the Crips and the Bloods were the largest and most violent African-American gangs. Hispanic gangs also began in Los Angeles in the 1920s. Early gangs were comprised of young males between the ages of 14 and 20. Asian gangs did not arise in the United States until the 1970s, when the first Vietnamese gangs began committing thefts and home robberies. Caucasian gangs arose in California in 1920s as well, but became much more common in the 1980s when the Skinheads started committing racial hate crimes in California and Oregon.