Yo Mr. Australia!
American gangs were 90% of what film told you they were....
.....in the 80's & early 90's....
Now, IN 2006, with arguably the biggest gang culture and history in America(My City, the windy city), IS RELATIVELY CALM.
You mentioned NY and LA, and yes LA had a gang culture that rivaled, maybe even surpassed Chicago's, but NY never had gangs like that, not large, organized gangs @ least.
NY was more into getting money regardless, and true hip-hop culture, during the worst years of American street gangs (1978-1992)
Also, the 5% nation helped out on the block, on the east coast.
Over here right now, in 2006....
Knuckleheads who don't do square business still get murked from time to time, but on the whole, black street gangs all get $$$ across the lines now.
Hispanic gangs still act like it's the 80's a little bit, but as a rule of thumb, the younger the hispanic dude, the less likely he'll trip over who's what.
Older hispanic dudes still don't like people getting money across the lines.
Drugs still, and will always get sold all day, every day, but the age of inter-gang wars, is all but over.
Street gangs are eventually going to phase out.
And the 80's were WAAAAAYYYYYYY worse than right now, except for down south.
Those slowpokes down there are just hitting their 1992 right now.
**** is bad down south right now, but much, MUUUCH better up north.
If you go ahead and write your paper, focus on positives, don't do any more damage to urban America's image.
A few positives:
Murder rates are down, armed robbery rates are down, cocaine use amongst youth is down, teen pregnancy is down.
About the only thing that went up was %ages of THC in the weed. LOL