Gang Problems In America And Street Crime Criminology Essay

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In the United States the level of street gang activity has shown alarming rates over the past years.

In America the problem of young people in street gangs are found in almost all fifty states. In the late 1970's miller estimated that 83 percent of the largest cities had gang problems as did 27 percent of cities with a population of 100,000 or more and 13 percent of cities with populations of 10,000 or more (W, Miller 1982, chaps. 2,3).

One such study by the U.S national youth gang center 2002, identified 21,500 gangs involving youths that made up of 731,500 members. Every city with a population of 150,000 or more was also reported having street gang problems involving young people. The same was held for 87 percent of cities with populations between 100,000 and 250,000.

Street crime -- car theft, vandalism, robbery with violence, burglary, to name a few examples -- is often considered a young man's game. Conventional thinking is that criminals wear out fast. They are actively and successfully recruiting youth in the schools and in the streets of most major cities.

Second is the prevailing view that that these gangs are small and localized. Youth street gangs have been around for decades. Kids in numbers--no doubt egged on by peers--vandalize, pilfer, skip school, wear odd clothing, and eventually grow up and move on. Those days are gone.

Today's youth street gangs are the handmaids of highly organized, often violent adult gangs such as the Hell's Angels, MS-13, Crips, and Bloods. These gangs and others now operate internationally. For example, in 2005 the Hell's Angels had 218 chapters, 121 of which were outside the continental U.S. and Canada.

Illicit drugs are the bread and butter of street gangs. The youth gangs are very much the rank and file retailers, obtaining their product from adult gang producers and wholesalers. Moreover, other organized crime elements, notably Russian, Hispanic, and Asian elements are involved. As for violence by the gangs, law enforcement officials report that when illicit drugs gain a foothold, other crimes, such as robbery and aggravated assault, increase.

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In 1994, gang members were suspects or victims in about forty percent of all homicides in Los Angeles County. C. Maxson, Street Gangs and Drug Sales in Two Suburban Cities, National Institute of Justice (September, 1995).

A recent survey of America's largest city police departments showed that ninety-five percent reported significant criminal activity by youth gangs or gang-like groups of young people. G. David Curry, et al., Gang Crime and Law Enforcement Recordkeeping, National Institute of Justice (August 1994).

A recent survey of law enforcement officials in forty-five cities suggests the presence of almost 1,500 youth gangs with more than 120,000 members. Irving A. Spergel, et al., Youth Gangs: Problem and Response - Stage 1 Assessment (May 1990) (Data collection reports conducted by the University of Chicago's National Youth Gang Suppression and Intervention Program in cooperation with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, United States Department of Justice).

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Changing Dimensions

Gang statistics

Gang violence has risen sharply, especially in large cities. Id. Youth gangs are becoming more violent and increasingly serve as a way for members to engage in illegal money-making activities, such as drug and firearms trafficking. Id.

In 1994, gang members were suspects or victims in about forty percent of all homicides in Los Angeles County. C. Maxson, Street Gangs and Drug Sales in Two Suburban Cities, National Institute of Justice (September, 1995).

A recent survey of America's largest city police departments showed that ninety-five percent reported significant criminal activity by youth gangs or gang-like groups of young people. G. David Curry, et al., Gang Crime and Law Enforcement Recordkeeping, National Institute of Justice (August 1994).

A recent survey of law enforcement officials in forty-five cities suggests the presence of almost 1,500 youth gangs with more than 120,000 members. Irving A. Spergel, et al., Youth Gangs: Problem and Response - Stage 1 Assessment (May 1990) (Data collection reports conducted by the University of Chicago's National Youth Gang Suppression and Intervention Program in cooperation with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, United States Department of Justice).

Gang youth committed over eleven percent of all crimes. Id.

The rate of violent offenses for gang members was three times higher than non-gang delinquents.

Most participants in gang crimes tend to be young, male, and either black or Hispanic. C. Maxson, Ph.D., supra.

"Gangs" consist of different types of members including core and leaders, associates or regulars, peripheral or fringe, and "wannabees" or recruits.

The core can be regarded as the inner clique which determines the basic nature and level of gang activity. They are generally more involved in delinquent or criminal activities than fringe members. Id. Gang attributes include violent behavior, group organization, leadership, territory, recurrent interaction and use of symbolism.

Youths gangs have existed in urban centers of the united states before the nineteen century ( hyman 1984).

gangs in the nineteen century were often associated, as they are now, with second and some times later generation male adolescent and young adult immigrant group or in-migrant groups( groups that move to a new part of the country) clustered in low income neighbourhoods of expanding or declining industrial or postindustrial urban centers.

Acknowledgment

Intro

History of crime

Street Gang problem in america

In America it is estimated that's there are

Street Gang problem in the uk

Female gangs

Factors

Interview of crip members

History of the crip street gangs followed by the interview

 

Sub Topic 4.4.2: Gangs

Introduction

Gangs often represent the most aggressive, violent and antisocial form of group behaviour. This lesson addresses the "dark side" of collective behaviours.

Relate: The California Council on Criminal Justice has defined a gang as "a group of people who interact at a high rate among themselves to the exclusion of other groups. A gang has a group name, claims a neighbourhood or other territory, and engages in criminal or other antisocial behaviour on a regular basis" (Barden, 1989, p. 9).

Relate: There are several reasons why people join gangs:

security.

In a time when, as many people believe, most of our culture's institutions - church, family, school - have crumbled, the gang remains a powerful force. "Within the gang you're a somebody," one gang counselor observes. "People respect you; you've got a name. Most of the kids I see are from one-parent or no-parent families. Nobody notices them, nobody really cares about them, and nobody has time for them. But the gang has time for them. It's as simple as that (Stewart, 1997, p. 11).

Boys and girls join gangs for many reasons. They may feel a need to belong to a peer group or a "substitute family." They may need protection from an abusive family, or from other gangs. They may want a feeling of pride in their culture, their language, or their neighbourhood. Some people join gangs because they want money and power. Others join because a gang is an outlet for hostility, where crime and fighting are praised. Still others join because they need someone to lead them. They have a weak sense of identity (Webb, 1990, p. 164).

Create: Refer to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Be prepared to explain how people who join gangs are having their needs met according to Abraham Maslow's hierarchy.

Activity C: Are there gender differences in terms of gangs and gang activity?

Relate: The number of girls in gangs has skyrocketed, not just in inner cities, but in suburban areas. They join gangs for the same reasons males do: friendship, a sense of belonging and security. And they run the very same, unglamourous risks: prison time, drug addiction, injury or death (Dunham, 1995, p. 52).

Create: Read the online Time article about teenage girl gangs. What reasons do these girls give for belonging to a gang? What aspects of Maslow's Hierarchy are being met by belonging to this gang?

Gang problem in America

The problem of gang activity in America is not as easy to recognize. Stated by the U.S. Department of Justise, "a group must be involved in a pattern of criminal acts to be considered a youth gang."

Between 1980 and 1996, the U.S. experienced significant growth in youth gangs, when the number of cities and jurisdictions that reported gang problems rose from 2863 to approximately 4,800.4 From 1996 through 1998 the growth seemed to slow down, but according to the 1999 National Youth Gang Survey, the number of gang members is again on the rise.

The survey reports that an estimated 26,000 gangs and 840,500 gang members were active in the U.S. in 1999. The survey also challenges the traditional view that urban centers are the hub of gang activity. Between 1998 and 1999, gang membership increased by 27% in suburban areas, and by 29% in rural areas.5

Urban Gangs in the US

According to the National Youth Gang Survey of 2004 police reports from throughout the country, estimates that there are around 24,000 youth gangs in the United States today with 760,000 active members. Youth gang members commit the majority of youth violence (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2001).

In 2004 it was reported In Los Angeles and Chicago that over half the 1,000 homicides committed

in 2004 were gang-related and in 171 additional cities with populations over 100,000 one quarter of the homicides were gang related. (National Youth Gang Survey, 2004).

Howell (2006), in an analysis of the National Youth Gang

Surveys, reports that four of the 10 largest US cities reported an average of 10 gang related

homicides in 2002-2003.

The age range of gang members is generally 12 to 24 (Howell, 1998).

Gang members engage in a wide variety of violent activity including homicide, assault,

rape, robbery, burglary, larceny, drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, and public disorder.

Gang members commit numerous crimes that are associated with violence from drug and weapons trafficking to assault, burglary, extortion, homicide, drive-by shootings, robbery, and murder.

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