Juveniles are important for several reasons. They are most at risk due to their position in their community. Parents in low income areas often work long hours and are not able to supervise their children as much as necessary. This can lead juveniles to seek companionship or support from other youngsters in their neighborhood. This places them in a vulnerable position that gang members may exploit to give them a sense of belonging or community. Older members of gangs may be seen as role models and looked up to. In families in which older family influences are present, gang culture may already be a part of family life. In some families, gang membership may be a tradition reaching back several generations. Younger members of the family may feel expected, or even required, to follow the same path. Such a pervasive presence of gang mentality and culture in a youngster’s life can be tremendously difficult to defeat. Additionally, the high crime rates endemic to many low income neighborhoods may further push youths to turn to gangs as a form of protection and security against the threats that they face.
Another portion of the gang problem that presents itself in neighborhoods is the public association of gang members. Juveniles wearing gang colors loiter in public areas, intimidating members of the public and further propagating their me...
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...onalities, such a program will fail to the gangs that can inevitably provide such figures. In a community without strong parents, youngsters need somewhere to turn. Making the program that place, and ensure that staff is adequately trained to fill this role in at least a basic capacity. A program that can accomplish these objectives is well on the way to success. While it might seem to be an involved and costly process, in fact the benefits greatly outweigh the costs. A strong, well-applied strategy targeted at the most at-risk demographic can stop the potential for gang expansion off before it happens. The cost of maintaining a large police presence, imprisoning criminal gang members, damage to property value, and the human cost that crime, drugs and violence inflicts on a community is a terrible one - address it with a well thought out and effective effort.
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