14 of the Most Dangerous Gangs Taking Over New Jersey
According to a recent Statewide Gang Assessment from the New Jersey State Police, there are an estimated 12,500 gang members in the state and another 3,500 gang members behind bars.
Some gangs have thousands of members with traditional leadership structures while many are loosely held together by only a few dozen people.
And like everything else, gangs have evolved. What you think a gang looks like probably isn't accurate at all these days.
Gangs are Everywhere in New Jersey
State Attorney General Matthew Platkin's office says gangs have been reported in every county in the state from small rural areas to large cities.
Realistically, no place is immune from gang activity.
These days, many stereotypes of gangs are no longer true. Rival gangs are now close to one another; gang colors, symbols, and tattoos are much less common; gangs often operate openly on social media platforms where recruitment is easy; and a person's allegiance to just one specific gang should no longer be assumed.
Gang Member Facts
Perhaps surprising but not surprising is that most gang members are young men between 13 and 25 years old.
While some believe joining a gang will further their lives or offer a way out of a difficult lifestyle, state officials say just the opposite is true. Those in a gang are,
- Less likely to graduate high school
- Less likely to find a stable job
- More likely to have alcohol and/or drug problems
- More likely to commit a crime
- Have a higher chance of being arrested and thrown in prison
- More likely to be victims of violence themselves
- Female gang members are vulnerable to sexual victimization
Let's take a look at the most dangerous gangs in each region of the state.
Gangs in North Jersey
In North Jersey, seven Tier 1 gangs (those classified as being a high threat) were identified, including Bloods, Crips, So Icey Boys, Brick Squad, Trinitarios, 230 Boys, and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
Trinitarios is a street gang that was established in the New York City correctional system in 1989 as a way of protecting themselves from other Latino gangs.
Brick Squad is a neighborhood-based gang from the First Ward of Paterson, 230 Boys originated in the Fourth Ward of Paterson, and So Icey Boys also originated in the same city.
In Los Angeles, the Crips formed in the late 1960s and the Bloods in the 1970s. Both have since expanded across the country and into New Jersey.
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is an outlaw motorcycle dating back to the 1940s. Membership in this gang is said to be highly selective and the group has a reputation for intimidation and threats of violence.
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Gangs in Central Jersey
In the middle of the state, seven Tier 1 gangs were identified: Bloods, Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, Rollin 60s Crips, 18th Street, and others.
Fruit Town Brims is a set of the Bloods street gang that originated in the area of Compton, CA. Officials say this gang is a "loosely organized and somewhat cohesive group with a moderate presence in Ocean County."
Rollin 60s is a distinctive set of the Crips street gang.
The Pagan’s Motorcycle Club is an outlaw motorcycle club that has a history of criminal activity dating back to the 1960s. Active primarily along the East Coast, PMC has a long-established presence in New Jersey.
18th Street is a gang that was also established in Los Angeles in the 1960s and has "since evolved into a transnational criminal organization with a nationwide presence and gang membership estimated in the tens of thousands." Authorities say the gang is relatively small in New Jersey although it is difficult to say exactly how many members it has.
Gangs in South Jersey
In South Jersey, four Tier 1 gangs were identified — the Latin Kings, Sex Money Murder Bloods, Only the Family, and Only the South.
Only The South is believed to have originated in Cumberland County within the last couple of years. It is believed that the gang’s footprint is relatively small and has not expanded beyond that area.
Latin Kings, commonly regarded as one of the more organized criminal street gangs, evolved into a nationwide criminal organization and is believed to have established a presence in New Jersey during the late 1980s.
Only The Family originated in Camden around 2012 and has evolved into an extremely violent criminal street gang. As of 2017, the group consisted of only several dozen members.
Sex Money Murder is a set of the Bloods. It has developed a significant presence amongst criminal street gangs operating in New Jersey.
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Gallery Credit: Chris Coleman