Gangsters During the Depression by agents · November 23, 2021 Although the term “gangster” is used for any criminal from the 1920s or 30s that operated in a group, it refers to two different breeds.Mobsters belonged to organized crime rings. They generally lived in large cities, and most were immigrants, or children of immigrants. Many of these criminal gangs were protected by urban politicians and police. While the Italian mafia was the largest and most powerful, other ethnic groups also had organized crime rings, most notably Jews and the Irish. While the different groups certainly competed with each other, by the early 1930s they are starting to collaborate more closely because public opposition to gang violence makes them so conspicuous.