The Purple Gang – Jewish Organized Crime from J-Grit (The Internet Index of Tough Jews) begins:
The Purple Gang was to Detroit what Al Capone and his gang were to Chicago. From the late 1920s until their demise in the the early 1930s their members were the leaders of the city’s underworld.
One characteristic of this group that made it quite unique was that it was the only Jewish crime organization to completely control the criminal underworld of a major American city. While other American Jewish gangsters worked within cross-ethnic alliances, the Purple Gang dominated Detroit entirely on its own. Like its criminally minded contemporaries, the Purple Gang was engaged in various criminal enterprises including bootlegging, hijackings, gambling operations, narcotics and kidnappings. And plenty of homicides were committed along the way.
Spawned from the Hasting Street neighborhood known as Paradise Valley in Detroit’s Lower East Side, most of its core members went to Bishop School where each were placed in the division for problem children.
You can read on for the story of how a group of misfits kept Al Capone out of Detroit. Also see Detroit’s infamous Purple Gang from the Detroit News Rearview Mirror and The Purple Gang: Bootlegger’s Paradise from True Crime TV. If you’re the knowledgeable type, you might want to head over to Wikipedia’s entry on The Purple Gang and do a little editing!