Chicago’s Al Capone is widely known as one of the most notorious gangsters in history. Today, Chicago is still battling gang violence. Capone died of syphilis in 1947.

Monsters are real—and they are armed.

This is the sobering reality we learned from the slaughter of school children in Sandy Hook; the slaughter of high school students in Columbine; the slaughter of college students in Virginia Tech; and the slaughter of children and adults of all ages on Chicago’s city streets, for example.

The trifecta of gangs, guns, and economic grief has made some of our blighted neighborhoods more dangerous than others, and the end result is a national crime wave.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports database, the following 10 cities have been hit the hardest by violent crimes; we list them here, along with a glimpse into each city’s history of gangs–some gangs dating back to the 1920s.

Deputy Editor, Rolling Out