Youth Gangs

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Within the past two decades, a growing concern has been focused on what can be considered a social epidemic among the youth of our nation. This social distress stems directly from the rising number of youth gangs throughout the country. Gang mentality and social deviance of this form has been noticed and documented in this country for decades. “ Prior to the 1970’s, gang violence was still popularly associated with white ethnic enclaves in the cities of the Midwest and East, and gang incidents were typically brawls involving fists, sticks and knives. Today, gangs are made up largely of ethnic groups, especially African American and Latino Americans, and handguns and other military hardware are the typical vehicles for the acts of aggression and rampages so common in large cities” (Franzese, 2006) . Now though, in the twenty first century, gang chapters, mentality, and its proficiency as a dominant force among the youth has spread not only to the large urban cities in the country but also to the suburban and rural areas of the nation that were once untarnished by this outbreak. As the number of youth gangs reach an all time high in this country, our main concern is being able to quickly identify the problem when it arises and to swiftly eradicate it before it rises beyond the control of the officials in the area. Youth gangs rise up and take control so rapidly among youth that you have to be able to reach adolescents before a problem that at one point could have been stopped, now is forced to be merely contained. A youth gang is generally identified as “a self formed association of peers having the following characteristics: three or more members, generally ages 12-24; a gang name or some sort of identity, generally indicated by such symbols such as clothing, graffiti, and hand signs; some degree of organization; and a elevated level of involvement in delinquent or criminal activity.”(Curry, 2014). A large misconception about youth gangs is that a gang must have a large membership ratio, which resembles the likes of the Los Angeles based gangs, The Bloods or the Crips, or has to be strongly racially or ethically based such as the Neo-Nazi’s or Latin Kings. This is not all together true. Indeed a large majority of gang activity results from highly involved associations like the four previously mentioned, but smaller less known or even recognized gang... ... middle of paper ... ...f that magnitude and most of the areas affected by gang violence simply cannot afford to properly intervene to the point where a serious change can be made. Cities need help monetarily, and the government must give it to them. Without the governments help, these areas will either just tread water, or sink into slums if they have not already reached that point. A bill must be passed, or a loan must be given, or the gang problem in America will remain as is, growing everyday, swallowing the potential and possibly the lives of our nations youth. References: Curry, G.D., Decker,S.H., and Edley,A. Jr, Gang involvement and Delinquency in middle school population. Justice Quarterly. 19(2):275-292. (2014). Franzese, Robert J., Herbert C. Covey, and Scott W. Menard. Youth Gangs. Illustrated ed. N.p.: Charles C Thomas Publisher, 2006. Web. 16 Apr. 2015. . Major, K. Aline. Youth Gangs. Juvenile Justice. March 2014 Nawojczyk, Steve. Street Gang Dynamics. The Nawojczyk Group. 2007. U.S department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention http://www.census.gov

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