Chicago Gangs: a View From the Past


Gang violence is nothing new in this country, from New York City, to Chicago, to Las Vegas and beyond, criminal gangs and gang violence has left its mark on American society.

The era of the Italian Mafia is one of the most notorious periods in American history. The Mafia, whose criminal activities back in the twenties, thirties, and forties were so glamorized in Hollywood movies crime families like the Capone “Outfit” and the Genovese crime family became a part of Americana. Who has not seen movies such as the 1931 movie “Little Caesar” with Edward G. Robinson, and the 1931 movie “Public Enemy” with James Cagney?

The organized crime street violence of the 30s reached a climax with the now infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre orchestrated by Al Capone, which led to the slaughter of seven members of a rival gang. One of the men shot during the raid, found still alive, refused to name those that committed the crime. He died moments later without “snitching” on the person or persons that killed him. See

Organized Crime vs. Disorganized Crime

Chicago has a history of crime. Dating back to the 1920s, some of the most infamous criminals this country has ever known waged wars with each other, and the city was the prize for the winner. Organized crime in Chicago was a spillover from the Mafia activity in New York City. See

In the days of “organized crime,” you had the likes of Jim Colosimo, Al Capone, Frank Nitti, and others that made crime a business. Today, “disorganized crime” gangs, and their random sprees of violence, are a plague to cities like Chicago. See wbez91.5Chicago

Is there any real difference between the “organized crime” of yesteryear and today’s roving bands of “disorganized” criminal activity? Both criminal gangs (organized and disorganized) killed people, committed robberies, and warred with each other over community territory. Both criminal gangs avoided the law by threatening and killing any witnesses to their crimes. So what is the difference, if any? Perhaps it is the fact that the members of the organized crime families saw their (for lack of a better word) “industry” as a business, and to further that business had specific criteria for how that business would be conducted. For instance each crime family had a “leader” who had to approve of any “hit” (murder) before it could be carried out. Today’s disorganized crime members do not appear to have such a discipline (if you could call it that). Random shootings and murders seem to be the trademark of  modern day “disorganized crime” gang members.

The “No Snitch” Code

The “no snitch code” is a code of the streets and has been with both the organized and disorganized gangs. This code has been and still is the one single detriment in preventing crimes and solving crimes on the streets of Chicago and elsewhere. Neighborhoods are being held hostage by gangs and individuals who have developed a strangle hold through fear, over these neighborhoods. Many crimes remain unsolved because witnesses, in fear of retaliation, refuse to come forward.

Chicago’s Street Gangs

Currently, there are hordes of gangs taking over the city, creating major problems for law enforcement. Statistics show that Chicago might be the most gang-infested city in the United States with about 60 different gang factions. According to law enforcement, most of the violence you see on Chicago streets is gang-related. Gangs argue over turf/territory and drugs, which is at the root of most of the violence you see there. See wbez91.5Chicago

Criminal Defense Attorney David Freidberg

If accused of a crime, it is important that you know what your rights are and how to protect them. The need for an experienced criminal defense attorney begins with the charge and arrest. Knowing your rights is the first step in the process, and continues thereafter through a possible trial to acquittal or sentencing. If you are being charged with any crime, including murder, sexual assault or battery, and would like to discuss all of the potential defenses available to you, call the Law Offices of David Freidberg today, at (312) 560-7100, or send an email, for a no-obligation consultation.

Contact Information