Gang Membership : A Growing Problem Within The United States Essay

Gang Membership : A Growing Problem Within The United States Essay

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Gang membership represents a growing problem throughout the United States, affecting people both outside and inside these organizations. In response to oppression, street gangs form to take advantage of resources by illegal methods (Meacham, Stokes 1). Street gangs have emerged as a threat towards community safety and presents a challenging issue towards law enforcement. Adult members fall into different categories based on their dedication towards their own gang. Gang members struggle with the transition from adolescence to adulthood, resulting in a lack of resources necessary to achieve success as adults: including their education, line of employment, and safety.
In their study among both adults and adolescents associated with gangs, sociologists Mike Meacham and Tony Stokes discover the impact of gangs towards its members, whom deviate from the norm. Street gangs are typically formed in urban and impoverished areas. The lack of wealth and affordable housing leads to many individuals seeking protection and a way to earn quick cash. The most common gangs include Aryan Brotherhood, Chinese Tongs, Bloods, Crips, Hell’s Angels, Latin Kings, and Vice Lords (Meacham, Stokes 2). Street gangs provide a family structure or brotherhood; therefore they provide an attractive facet towards young kids whom strive for a sense of belonging (Meacham, Stokes 4). In communities full of poverty and crime, gangs provide a secure setting where kids can feel valued. These kids participate in gang-related events, utilize outward symbols such as tattoos, outfits, or hand-gestures, and become a nuisance towards their own communities (Meacham, Stokes 4). At such a young age, adolescents are easily influenced by older gang members to complete their...


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Being a member in a street gang is a very dangerous activity, affecting both the members and families within the community. Various community programs and government agencies, including the Boys and Girls Clubs and Division of Family Services, have been offered to deal with gangs, helping in the prevention of youth membership (Meacham 3). Although these programs have made a difference in small communities, gang membership continues to expand and puts lives at risks for both adolescents and young adults. Adult members fall into different categories based on how they want to live out their life. Resources such as education, employment, and safety are very limited towards gang members. Gang members struggle with the routine process of a successful transition from adolescence to adulthood; therefore they lack the resources necessary to strive as adults.

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