Melbourne, Apr.12 : America's violent gang culture has entered Australia.
According to New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, American gangs are increasingly influencing wayward youth in Australia.
Scipione was quoted by news.com.au as saying that the police is closely monitoring the trend of so-called gangs on the Internet.
"The concern for police is the Americanisation of these young men who are influenced by the criminal gang culture in the US, by parading themselves and thumbing their noses at the law. These hoodlums take great delight in showing off," Scipione added.
Known as the gang capital of America, Los Angeles has spawned the most infamous - and globally influential - gangs in the US.
American Government figures show there were at least 30,000 gangs and 800,000 members active in the US last year. The number of gang members has grown steadily over the past five years, up from 731,500 in 2002 and 750,000 in 2004.
Gangs are predominantly divided on racial lines, with members usually belonging to the same race.
Recent studies show that in the US, Hispanics accounted for almost half (47 per cent) of all gang members, with African-Americans comprising almost a third (31 per cent), whites 13 per cent and Asians 6 per cent.
Gangland fighting has been immortalised - and in many cases glamourised - by top-selling rap stars such as Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, Jay Z and Eminem. Several singers have become martyrs for the cause after being killed in gang-related shoot-outs.
New York-raised rap star Tupac "2Pac" Shakur was a proponent of the east coast versus west coast hip hop rivalry and remains the only artist to have a No. 1 album while in prison.
Shakur penned songs about growing up amid violence and hardship in ghettos and conflicts with other rappers, before being gunned down in 1996 at age 25 by a member of the LA-borne gang "The Crips".
Fellow New York-raised singer Christopher "Notorious B.I.G." Smalls was gunned down in a car in 1997 after leaving a Los Angeles party for the release of his album. The murder is unsolved, but reports suggest the killer was a Crips member.
Along with "The Bloods", "The Crips" are one of the biggest and most infamous US gangs. Both gangs emerged between 1969 and 1972.