Gangs: A Constant Threat Against Society

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According to the Cambridge Dictionary (n.d.), a gang is defined as, “a group of criminals that work together.” Gangs are a powerful force that is a constant threat against society. As of 2011, the National Gang Center (n.d.) estimates there to be 782,500 gang members in the United States alone. Mara Salvatrucha 13, also known as MS-13, is one of the biggest and most threatening gangs. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) (n.d.) believes Mara Salvatrucha 13 to have an estimated 10,000 members in the United States and several thousand other members in Central America. Joining a gang is justified by the need for protection, money, and promoting a self image. Joining an established gang, such as Mara Salvatrucha 13, results in a lifestyle change including a harmful induction, following a strict code, carrying out assignments, and a lifetime of loyalty.
Reasons to Join a Gang
Individuals generally join a gang as young adults but, are sometimes recruited as early on as elementary school. Society generally sees gangs as dangerous groups to stay away from, but for a young person on the street, a gang offers a sense of family. Gangs present the benefit of protection and being part of a pack. When Latin Americans came to the United States as illegal immigrants they had very few resources and were essentially homeless. A simple solution was to join a gang. Mara Salvatrucha 13 profited from this scenario, exponentially growing in strength and size (Illegal Immigrant Gangs Commit Most U.S. Crime, 2009). An initial reason for the formation of Mara Salvatrucha 13 was for the immigrant’s protection from other gangs, but eventually ended up greatly surpassing their competition in both size and strength (2009).
Cause and Effect of Gang...

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