The Saints started in the year 1959 in the back of the yards community on the corner of 45th and Wood. The name came from a Television show titled “Saints” that used a stickman figure in the show. The stickman figure wears a halo and carries a cane. In 1959 and all throughout the 1960s the Saints were a white polish gang. Back in the 60s they were a group of kids that hung out and mainly only threw rocks at people; therefore, they were not as violent at that time. In the early 1970’s Many Mexican people began to move into the back of the yards community and whites began to move out.This made the Saints begin to recruit Mexicans. Throughout the 1970s the Saints became more and more Mexican and less white. By the early 80’s the gang was mostly Mexican but there were still a good amount of Polish members. By the early 80s, the Saints were located at 43rd to 47th/Bishop to Wood; 45th and Paulina, and 47th and Hermitage. They attended school at that time at Tilden H.S., Kelly H.S., and Phillips H.S. Also during this time the Saints became increasingly violent and they refused to join Folk nation or People nation. In the early 80s they battled 22Boys, Satan Disciples, Party Players, Latin Kings, Bishops, and Latin Souls, all were gangs directly in Saints vicinity. The only gang the Saints allied with back then were the Spanish Chancellors. By the late 1980s into the early 1990s the Saints found the need to establish protection for their incarcerated members; therefore, they joined the people nation under the umbrella of the Latin Kings and became cousins of the Kings and then the Saints became known as the “Almighty Saints.” In 1992 Latin Kings killed a Saint which started a war between them. Later the two gangs called a truce but after a few years the two gangs began to fight; however, a full scale war was not waged.
In the mid-90s the Saints began to war with local crews in their neighborhood. They battled Wood Boys, Paulina Boys, and Honore Boys. The Saints bullied these crews relentlessly until they joined Saint. The crews either disbanded because of the Saints or they became Saints. The Paulina Boys were the last that remaining crew that would’t become Saint. They resisted for a year until the summer of 1994 when they finally became Saint. This was how Paulina Street Saints were established.
The Paulina Saints were eager to expand Saint territory even futher in Chicago, they gained turf in Brighton Park, but this was short lived because they were not given an adequate supply of guns. The Saints were known for visiting other neighborhoods and doing drive-bys and commiting other violent crimes upon rival gangs. They would enter North side neighborhoods and clubs and start fights and do drive bys. They would also do lots of shootings in the summer of 1996 on the opposite side of 47th street. All this violence and expansion of Paulina Saints started to get all Saints negative attention, it brought heavy Police presence in Saint neighborhood, thus, making it very hard for Saints to sell drugs and make money. This caused the Saints and Paulia Saints to start fighting for several weeks. The Saints for a short time did not consider the Paulina Saints to be members of the Saints and ordered an S.O.S (smash on site) for all Paulina Saints. After a while the Inca of the Saints met with the leader of Paulina Saints and a truce was called. In the years 1999 and 2001 some Paulina Saints were killed and the suspected shooters were Saints from Wood street; however, there is no proof of this at all. The Paulina Street Saints are said to be the most violent of the Saints. In 2004 members were arrested on Murder, kidnapping, and even drug trafficking charges.
In 2005 the Chicago Police Department launched “Operation Broken Halo” which brought about the arrest and conviction of 25 members. On February 12th of 2006 5 inmates at Cook County jail escaped one of them was Francisco Romero aged 23 detained on murder charges. He was later apprehended and now has to serve 45 years for the murder.
The Saints are one of the only gangs that has never lost turf over the years (except for the short lived Brighton Park experience). The Saints till hold their original territory that they had in 1959 and the 1960s. There are only a few hundred in number but they are still considered one of Chicago’s most violent street gangs.