. Gangs are highly organized organizations. They tend not to target non-criminals (because that brings police attention and gets 70 people arrested), and their business model is typically an actual business model (ie: come to this neighborhood where it's safe to buy great weed). Which means that if you're saying they start fights with random people for reasons other then profit it's not what a hardened Detroiter (or most criminologists) would call a "gang."
What you are describing is the behavior of an established gang. The East Side has been colonized by multiple such organizations going back many generations (hint: until not that long ago they were as white as I am.) What I'm seeing here on the West Side looks more like the attempt to establish a presence, to drive out smaller local groups (which didn't generally harass outsiders), and to set up a business model based on extortion and fear. Not sustainable in the end, so it eventually gives way to something relatively peaceful and sustainable like drugs. Eventually. But just like in the 70s (Mafia wars) and 80s (crack epidemic), a lot of blood, including that of innocents, gets spilled during the transition.
Part of it, which you will also see in groups like MS-13, is that very young people, sometimes as young as 10, are used to do a lot of the dirty work, and really don't understand the consequences. They've been conditioned - by Black and White alike - that they have no future anyway, so why not live it up right here and right now? These kids are feared by everyone, even, I think, the OGs (though obviously they are not in a position to admit it). They are not respected though. Respect has to be earned. In my book, respecting other people at least enough not to murder them is part of that. Much of the rest is learning to find a way to survive and prosper in a culture that not only doesn't encourage it, but pretends that for those sufficiently young and sufficiently dark-skinned and/or Spanish-speaking, it isn't even possible.
It's possible. It's also hard as hell, especially since not only do you not have all the auto and steel plants paying good salaries for unskilled labor, but, increasingly, you don't even have the McDonalds' and Wendy's and Jimmy's Check Cashing places anymore. What you do have are big boxes in the 'burbs where buses don't go and where other than white faces still draw unwanted attention from cops. And they cry about not being able to find enough workers.
And that segues us back to the original topic: it is not RTA's fault that many of these big boxes are way out in the suburbs and exurbs, and there is nothing they can do about this in the short term. Once these developments become sufficiently dense, if they are within county limits and not too far from existing routes, they will try to detour to serve them. Probably only every hour though, probably not at night and probably not on weekends. There just is no money to do that.
Actually I think Cleveland still has very decent transit for a Rust Belt city. Arguably Pittsburgh does a bit better, but that's arguable, and they have a much larger funding base. Detroit definitely does not, but its funding situation is even worse than ours.
Regarding the recent crime spree at RTA stations - mostly on the West Side - these have not been heavily publicized for obvious reasons, but there has been some news coverage that you can Google for. Cleveland cops rounded up something like 70 members of this group maybe half a year ago, but without noticeable effect because, like other gangs of its nature, its roots are in the prison system, and it is designed to operate both inside and outside. Publicity and flaunting the risk of imprisonment is exactly the point of their initiation rituals. They think it proves they're b*d*sses. RTA cops do a good job considering their numbers and the political mandate that most of them have to be at Tower City, but anyplace else, they really can only respond to crimes after the fact, not intervene while they're happening. The stations between West 65 and Triskett have been especially targeted, enough that I will no longer use them to bring my family downtown; we can always take the slow but relatively safe bus instead. I have friends who have been robbed and/or beaten repeatedly at 98th and 117th, and I have to use the West 98th station to change buses if I take the bus to work. I don't do that anymore unless I have to.
I don't see any of this as a reflection on RTA, so much as the decline of the surrounding neighborhoods and the battle between gangs to establish dominance. Some formerly very scary stations such as West 25 and East 120 (now being relocated to Mayfield) have improved greatly, reflecting development and/or gentrification in their surrounding neighborhoods.
Nonetheless, using RTA for anything other than a downtown trip usually involves transferring, typically in less than safe areas, and typically between buses that run only every hour. It's just not something most people choose to do if they have some other reasonable alternative. Not RTA's fault, just the way things are.