Gangs In El Paso Are Not New – Check Out This Video About 1950s Era Gang Wars In The Borderland
We hear a lot about gang problems and drug cartels in El Paso, but it turns out that gangland violence in El Paso is nothing new. In the 1950's, the city was dealing with at least fifty known gangs that terrorized residents.
An El Paso Times article from October, 1956, outlined the beatings, stabbings, shootings, and drinking that were going on "from the crossroads to Ysleta and from 13th Street to Mountain View." The author called them Dead End Kids and Gashouse Guys, and said that some gangs had 50 - 75 members.
El Paso Police said that they were keeping as many as 50 gangs under investigation. The article outlines the combined efforts of probation officers, police, sheriff’s deputies, church groups, and parents who banded together to stamp out a similar rash of gang violence in 1950. Considering how much smaller El Paso was back then, dealing with 50 gangs with 50 members - that's 2,500 kids - things must have been pretty scary for law enforcement. According to the article, there was even a so-called "mouthpiece fund” put together so that any gang member who was arrested could hire a good lawyer.
The entire article is a fascinating read on what things were like in El Paso just 60 years ago, and the video from the El Paso History Facebook page paints a vivid picture of the gangland violence that held El Paso in its grip not so long ago.