The word thug dates back to India in the year 1200 AD and it refers to a gang of criminals (Thugs) that roamed the country pillaging towns. These Thugs had their own symbols, hand signs, rituals and slang. By the 1800's, Americans were fascinated with gangs and gangsters such as the James Gang was one of the most notorious gang during this era formed in New York City during the late 1890's and early 1900's.
The next era of and the group that started the gangs we like to refer to as urban gangs was formed by mobsters such as Al Capone, flourished during the 1920's and 30's gangs became a symbol of lower income neighborhoods and ethnic ghettos. During the early 1940's, Mexican gangs stated to formed along the west coast of the United States By the late 1960's and early 1970's, the more modern urban gangs we still see today such as the Crips gang in Los Angeles were it is so violent and entrenched in ghetto neighborhoods that a rival gangs formed to challenge the strength of the Crips know today as the Bloods. By the late 1980's and early 1990's gangs needed a way to make money and their way of doing that was with drugs. Lives of gang members are filed with violence, criminal activities, drugs and alcohol. Urban gangs today have gotten a lot larger and more violent. One of the largest and most dangerous gangs in America and that is spreading throw out the world is a gang called Mara Salvatrucha 13 aka MS13. MS-13 was organized during the 1980s in Los Angeles by Salvadorans; having grown up with violence, members fled their country's civil war. MS13 is one of the most organized gangs in America. In the US it is estimated there are over 10,000 known members from MS13 and spans over 42 different states and in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico it is estimated at more than 50,000 members.
In conclusion, I have provided a time line of urban gang history and have also giving an example of how gangs are growing in America.