Scampia was built as a bedroom suburb in 1960s. The area was mostly developed in the 1970s and 1980s, with huge, high-rise residential blocks, in particular after the 1980 earthquake with construction of housing for displaced Neapolitans. Huge apartment complexes, wide boulevards and a massive park were built, without commercial districts or entertainment venues. With 50% unemployment there is a very high crime rate, with heroin and cocaine sold and used openly in the streets.
Large metal gates on some of the walkways and stairs in the blocks of flats have been put there, not by the council, but by the Camorra, so they can be locked by drug pushers as they flee the police.
Scampia was the territory of the Di Lauro clan, which controlled the drug trade and most other activities in the area. In 2004 a bloody gang war erupted in the area, the so-called Scampia feud (Faida di Scampia), between the Di Lauro clan and a breakaway fraction, the so-called "secessionists" (Italian "scissionisti").
The death of an innocent woman, Gelsomina Verde, caused widespread public revulsion and led to a major crackdown by the authorities. She was abducted, brutally beaten in an effort to get her to disclose the whereabouts of a gang member involved in the feud, and finally shot in the neck. Her body was stuffed in a car that was set on fire.
Notes and references
- In Naples, a Mob Family Feud, The Washington Post, February 8, 2005
- Mafia vice blights Naples school, BBC News, November 30, 2004
- Weekends turn bloody in Naples mafia war, The Guardian, December 18 2004
- Naples police in huge mafia swoop, BBC News, December 7, 2004
- Gang's Deadly Feud Plagues Naples, Los Angeles Times, February 17, 2005
- 'The blood is running': Mafia wars erupt again, The Independent, December 8, 2004
- Streets of 'Gomorrah', Newsweek magazine issue dated December 22, 2008
- (English) Drug, feuds and blood in the land of the Camorra - SCAMPIA 24 Video-documentary of the newspaper Il Mattino
- (Italian) L'Altra Scampia video documentary on Scampia
- (Italian) Ballarò: droga a Scampia (Secondigliano, Napoli) video report on drug trafficking in Scampia
- Scampia Camorra Napoli Ground Zero video impression