Nashville has several thousand members in nine street gangs that go by names such as the Bloods, Crips, Asian Pride, Brown Pride, and MS-13, reports The Tennessean. Some deal drugs and get in fights with each other. All throw gang signs. Some go home to single mothers in the suburbs. Nashville’s gangs are less organized, less violent and less territorial than their counterparts in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston. They have been here at least 20 years, but they have not reached the level of the corporate-like enterprises that exist in major gang cities. Last weekend’s shooting in the polished corridors of a mall was believed to be gang-related and brought to the forefront a problem that had so far manifested itself in lower-income neighborhoods.
Last year, about 70 violent local crimes were attributed to conflicts between street gangs, including two homicides, 44 assaults, five weapons charges, and six reported incidents of intimidation. Police say that there are still many members who are so serious about gang life that their strongest loyalty goes not to their biological families, but to their gang families. Experts say that almost 80 percent of all cities with at least 50,000 people have gang problems, so a majority of Americans live in or near areas with youth gangs.