In the last twelve years, the northern Italian city of Milan has been constantly dealing with the issue of Latin-American street-gangs. The phenomenon brought the city on various international news websites, such as in June 2015, when The Independent published an article with a more than meaningful title: “Milan struggles to cope as Latin American gang violence starts afflicting general public”. The problem even caught the attention of the Salvadoran press, with two articles written by news reporter Roberto Valencia for El Faro and Internazionale (this second one with the title “Milan, the European capital of Salvadoran gangs”).
The following is a list of episodes, retrieved through open source search, that includes murders and violent attacks perpetrated with machetes, knives, picks or broken bottles in a timeline that goes from 2007 to 2019 within the province of Milan.
In March 2007, an 18 years-old Ecuadorian national and Latin Kings Chicago member was stabbed to death by a fellow countryman belonging to the rival “Comando” street gang. The murder occurred outside a disco located in eastern Milan.    
In July 2008, an 18th Street gang member was attacked by a group of MS13 members; in the fight, the individual lost an eye as a consequence of wounds inflicted with a machete. The episode occurred in south Milan during a Salvadoran festival.    
In February 2010, an Egyptian citizen was stabbed to death by a Dominican citizen who was riding a bus with two friends in Milan’s via Padova. The Dominicans turned out to be close to the Trinitario gang, even if there have been no confirmations about their full membership.    
In September 2011, a gang member is attacked and wounded with belts and a knife inside a bus near Milan’s Piazzale Lodi. 
In November 2011, an MS13 gang member was attacked and wounded by rival gang members armed with a machete; the raid occurred inside a store in central Milan, not far from the notorious Duomo square.    
In June 2015, a train inspector checking tickets inside a convoy was attacked with a machete by a group of MS13 gang members and his arm was almost amputated in the attack. The episode took place in the Villapizzone train station.    
In July 2016, an 18 years-old Albanian citizen who had nothing to do with street gangs was attacked and stabbed to death by a group of MS13 members while boarding a tram in Milan’s Porta Lodovica area.    
In November 2016, a Dominican drug pusher was shot and stabbed to death in central “Piazzale Loreto” as a consequence of a drug deal gone wrong. The two killers, two Dominican citizens considered close to the Trinitario gang, were soon identified and while one was arrested a few weeks later, the second one is still at large.   
In February 2019, a Salvadoran citizen and MS13 member was murdered by three other members of his own gang in San Giuliano Milanese. The individual had taken part in the attack against the 18th Street gang member in July 2008.    
In June 2019, a Peruvian citizen was mugged, beaten and thrown inside a river in Milan’s “Lambro” park by two Salvadoran citizens and members of the 18th Street gang. The victim’s dead body was recovered by the police 5 days later. The attackers were identified and arrested shortly after.    
In December 2019, a Salvadoran citizen claiming to be a member of the MS13 gang, severely wounded to the neck a fellow country-man with a broken bottle outside a disco in Milan’s Rovereto area and then fled the scene. The attacker was arrested a few weeks later after robbing a supermarket in south Milan.    
The Latin-American street gang phenomenon in Milan is characterized by an extreme violence that caused 8 deaths in a period of time that goes from 2007 to 2019. While these numbers might not impress cities as New York or Los Angeles, where the street-gang phenomenon has ancient history, they are considered quite alarming in a city of less than 2 million people such as Milan, where the phenomenon is very recent. In addition to the murders, one peculiarity that clearly struck the public opinion is its brutality of such cases, with frequent use of machetes to maim and kill.
Unlike in the US or in Latin America, these groups have no control over the territory in Italy and their violence is mostly oriented against each other, just for the sake of it and defined as “mirror violence” by Italian gang expert Massimo Conte from “Codici Ricerca“. However, there have been some cases of attacks against “outsiders”, people not involved in gangs and street issues.
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