A Short History of Gangs

History of gangs goes back to the time as long as humans existed in towns. If piracy is considered to be related with gangs then it stretches back to the time when ships sailed across the oceans. Gangs are generally considered by authorities as undesirable, though many gangs consider themselves as protectors of their community.

Not much is known about gangs before Romans in ancient history, although many historians suggest that if gangs were a law and order problem in Rome, they there possibly known by older empires and states. Suburban criminal gangs during the Roman times caused disruption to life with riots and mayhem, these gangs were the first to invent protection rackets.

Roman gangs were involved in criminal activities of kidnapping for ransom and they often took the help of smugglers and pirates. Most of the early historians blame senatorial corruption under powerful gangs influence for the fall of Roman Empire.

Gangs operated throughout Europe during the medieval ages, although few of them were active outside their localities. The story of Robin Hood is a good example of how gangs operated in those times. The poor people who helped the gangs were pain for their loyalty which led them to become heroes rather than villains.

On the other hand, the Arab world had no belief in the goodness of gangs comprising of thieves as many met terrible fate at the hands of good people. One such famous story is “Ali Baba and the forty thieves”.

Criminal gangs existed in India from 13th to 19th century known as thuggee, they raided trading caravans and killed people as they looted. The term thug is derived from these gangs and is synonymous with the word gangster in England.

Gangs of criminals operated in Japan and China in the 17th Century, they were respectively known as Yazuka and Triads Gangs. Japanese yakuza and Chinese Triads started as political groups but soon became known for their threats, robbery and often kidnapped and killed.

The Triads later migrated to Taiwan, Hong Kong and USA. On the other hand, Yakuza of Japan did not expand outside Japan other than Korea. The Yakuza gangs mostly spread their tentacles deep in Japanese business and many became heads of big corporations.

Gangs were known in US since the first cities developed. Most children were involved in minor crimes but later often made switch to more serious offenses.
After the westwards expansion across the continent, gangs started showing their power in the US. The Wild West outlaws like Billy the Kid, Reno Gang, Butch Cassidy, Hole in the Wall Gang and others added charm to the old west gangs nothing more than thieves and murderers.

Since the Chicago Outfit or Gambino Family of New York and the 1920s, history of gangs has changed with gangs fighting for control of territory. Al Capone, Don Carlo and Lucky Luciano were the biggest names in Mafia of that time. Gangs like the bloods and crips from Los Angeles had spread their criminal empires throughout the USA including the military.

The history of gangs is still not complete, there are complex changes happening within gangs that could change the entire industry in the next coming years.

False Promises of Gang Life

Parents may not realize this, but research tells us that the number one reason children join gangs is for a sense of family or belonging. Today’s working parents are busy. This isn’t wrong; this is necessity, but sometimes kids feel neglected or inadvertently get lost in the shuffle. Some children simply aren’t as outgoing as others and feel isolated or bullied at school. These kids can easily get discouraged and lonely. They are easy targets for the lure of gang promises. The reality of gang life is not what it may appear to be.

Young people are drawn into gangs because of the illusion of friends who “have their back”, money, respect and the glittery lifestyle some celebrities represent. There is not protection in a gang. As a matter of fact, there is much more danger in joining a gang than not because you and your family become targets for rival gangs. Entire families are put in harm’s way. Most young people never meant for siblings and other family members to be killed. They usually don’t realize the far reaching consequences of gang involvement.

Gang members usually end up dropping out of school because of fear of rival gang members. Without an education, there’s not a lot of hope for financial security. Respect in a gang is simply fear. Real respect is recognizing the rights of others and treating people the way you want to be treated. Real respect is earned through education and accomplishments. Gang violence and criminal acts are hardly respectful. How much respect is garnered for those behind bars? Does anyone really grow up thinking, “hey, when I grow up, I want to go to jail”? Does anyone really think they should be beaten senseless to gain friends? Should you really have to commit crimes to keep “friends”? Most teens are tired of parents and teachers telling them what to do. Gangs dictate what you wear, where you go, who you can hang out with and date. They will rob you of your freedom and choices.

According to statistics, gang involvement makes one 60% more likely to be a victim of homicide. Teens who find themselves involved in gangs usually never intended to ruin their lives. They were trying to find something positive, but they found it in the wrong place.

If a young person you know is entertaining the thought of joining a gang, remind him or her of the consequences and the alternatives. There are clubs, church activities, Boys and Girls clubs, sports, various lessons in art, dance, music, etc. If you are already involved in the gang culture and want out, go to your local police gang task force. According to the website above, there are ways out, but you may likely have to change your location. It won’t be easy, but can be done. Remember, it’s much easier to never get involved than to get out.

Who Is in Your Gang?

The 1st of August was national Swiss day and to celebrate the occasion, the Swiss embassy and some of the Swiss clubs (yes, there is a yodel club, a fondue club, a Swiss folklore dance club in case you’d like to join one) organised a big get together for all the Swiss living in Sydney.

So I dragged my husband along to check it out, it was easy to convince him, I just needed to promise Swiss chocolate.

Anyway, we got there and it was really interesting to see this Swiss community getting together, proudly carrying their flags, wearing their traditional red yodel shirts, speaking the same language and sharing the same traditions. There was a sense of belonging, one of the core needs people have, the need to belong.

Now, the interesting fact is that you can leverage this need to belong in your business by building a community and invite people to belong.
Think about Apple, Apple is the perfect example for creating a community around their products. They have so many advocates promoting Apple better than anyone, it’s one of the best marketing tools and it’s free. I’ve come across a lot of Apple fans, they are so dedicated that they will try to convert anyone they cross paths with (and yes, they did succeed with me too).

Creating a community around your product or services is very powerful and the benefits can be huge:

Connecting: Having a community around your products and services helps you connect existing clients with prospects. Your ‘gang members’ support each other (Apple fans are helping each other with technical issues in online forums) and share their stories (hopefully about how awesome your product or service is).
This is crucial because it gives your product or service exposure without you doing a thing. People are talking about it and spreading the word for you.

Credibility: Your prospects hear from other clients rather than from a dodgy sales person. It’s a form of social proof to see other people using your services and talking positively about them. Your happy clients do the selling for you.

Getting to Know Your Clients: Creating a gang will help you getting to know your clients better. What do they want? How can you improve your current product or service? Your community will tell you. Having a community allows you to get feedback from people that are actually buying your products and services rather than spending money on focus groups that couldn’t care less.

Launching new services: Your loyal gang will be there for you when you are introducing a new product or service and you might even want to give them an early release or special offer as a reward for their loyalty.

The best and easiest way to build your community is having an outstanding product or service. Your clients will naturally want to be part of your gang. If your product is crap, it will be hard to build a community of supporters. So focussing on giving lots of value and engaging your clients is the best place to start.

To your powerful gang,

Franziska

PS: Thanks for all the great comments about our last article ‘Liberal vs Labor’, we always love receiving feedback.

‘We were born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race.’
Cicero

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