Many years ago a client approached my first detective agency Octopus in Bergamo for an international investigation. My research ended up in the United States, where I met a fellow private detective who had opened his own detective agency in Los Angeles after a career as a policeman in an anti-gang squad in California.
At the time, this private detective told me that we Italians were lucky not to have street gangs like in the States. Just to console him with the famous “half a joy” of the “common evil”, I replied that instead of street gangs we had violent football fans. But he, certainly more expert than me on that kind of crime, argued that it was lucky to have violence bounded to football sporting events and then predicted to me that when violent supporters would be reduced, violence would probably spread in the streets or in any other part of social life, since in any society, for incomprehensible and uncontrollable reasons, it is not possible to redeem a violent and poorly intelligent share of humanity.
Recently my American colleague came to see me in my Octopus detective agency in Milan for a case of his and, remembering what he said at our first meeting, I told him what is happening in Milan and in many Italian cities with the spread of the baby-gangs: as the violence in the States decreases, it spills out onto the streets in new demented forms. Basically, it’s enough that the violent and unintelligent share of humanity is no longer interested in the game of football, to find it on the streets, in schools, clubs and wherever civil society takes place.
In Italy, apart from a few established imported gangs such as the Latinos, fortunately only the baby gangs are spreading rapidly, but the little delinquents are growing and should not be underestimated. Today, people talk about lockdown stress due to the coronavirus to explain these crimes, but I think that, apart from the rotten seed of wickedness, the main breeding ground for baby criminals is social and family disintegration.
The detectives of my Octopus Detective Agency and I, during investigations aiming at protecting young people from self-destructive behavior or bullying, have more than once come across these gangs of ‘infants’. And they all have two characteristics: the vile courage of the band and the mental manipulation of the leaders on the followers. I do not think, however, that the situation in Italy can match that of the United States or other parts of the world, because here there is still a strong family tradition that perhaps will act as a brake on the complete degeneration.