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  • An organized group of people with its own culture that includes unique symbols, signs, codes, and languages. Gangs are often thought of as composed of urban youth whose affiliation provides identity, replaces family, and is involved in illegal activity. In the United States, gangs have a history that dates back to before the Civil War, where the first criminal gangs were formed in poor, urban areas, such as in New York City. Today gangs are diverse in their goals and belief systems and can include street gangs such as the MS-13, Bloods, Crips, and Latin Kings, as well as extremist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. The organization of gangs varies from loosely disorganized groups that engage in occasional and unplanned criminality such as ...

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