Many contemporary experts on gangs, focused as they are on dealing with the present gang problem, seem to think that serious street gang issues began around 1900. Obeisance, to be sure, may be paid to the gangs of mid-1800s New York—but is as if they existed in a vacuum. Most criminologists ignore the context of the American narrative and the fact that in other cities, gangs were more known, more prevalent, and certainly at least as problematic as those of New York. Perhaps the more or less exclusive focus on ...

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