Have you noticed the increasing number of crime rates and suspicious groups of young adults causing violence or disruption in your city? Do you feel safe living in a country with over 30,000 gangs with a total of almost 800,000 members? How would you react if I told you that every year, the amount of gangs increase by 8%? I dont know about you but my first impression would be that we need to put a stop to the existence and operations of gangs in the U.S. The difficulty comes in on how we as a country are supposed to put an end to these gangs yet they are made up of the most dangerous people in the U.S. The Key to ending this trend is being aware of how the gangs are started and how they organize themselves. Finding the teenagers who are at the risk of being recruited or are already involved in the gangs can significantly help to reduce the number of new gang members. These teens can be identified based on their behaviors and taken through psychological therapy to help them get over the need for them to be in gangs and their minds opened up to the many opportunities that they can take advantage of to improve their lives.
A street gang is a group of individuals, can be friends or family members, with a leadership and internal organization who claim territory in a community and use their forcefully acquired leadership to engage in violent activities or illegal behavior. The number of gang members varies as there is no set minimum number required to claim a gang. The members of a gang are known as gangsters.
Gangs are dangerous as they affect both the public and even its members in different ways. Some gang members are jumped in which involves them having to fight a certain number of gang members for a given period of time. It is normally used to prove loyalty of new recruits. They can also be asked to commit acts such as theft and violence to prove their loyalty and commitment to the gang. These posses a great risk to the members of the gangs as they can be seriously injured or even killed during these acts. Members of the public can also be injured when the recruits engage in theft and other acts of violence. Today 80% of all crimes in the United States are committed by gangs and their members.
Most gangs started out in larger cities like Los Angeles, New York City, and Miami. However, when law enforcers in these cities caught up with them they started moving their operations to smaller cities such as Houston, Atlanta, Orlando, and Memphis. The movements of the gangs made them increases their base of operations and even recruit new youths from the smaller cities. It helped them gain many members who were now spread across the United States which lead to more gang violence. This increase and spread of the gangs contributed to 59% of all homicides in places like Los Angeles and Chicago.
Statistics shows that 94% of gang members are male and 6% are female. Research has also indicated that approximately 47% of gang members are Hispanic, 31%African American, 13% white, and 7% Asian. The women who join these gangs are normally treated badly and most of them are used for sexual favors by their male counterparts. Unlike their male counterparts who are jumped in, the female recruits are required to be sexed in involves them having sex with a large number of the men in the gang. This exposes these women to the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and even sexual trauma.
Most of the gangs target the youths and try to influence them to join as new members. The number of youths in gangs nationwide is around 400,000. Majority of the youths who join gangs do so because of lack of positive support from home. Some youths are also joining gangs due to lack of alternative activities to do and this is mostly the case if they live in a gang filled area. Youths who are born into poverty are drawn to this lifestyle because they believe joining the gangs will give them a ticket into a better lifestyle. The recruitment of youths into gangs puts the future of the nation into jeopardy as the youths are the future leaders of the country. Having them drawn into these unhealthy lifestyles puts the future of the nation at risk as they will not be able to lead the country when the time comes.
In conclusion, gangs are groups that the nation at large should work towards eliminating. They cause a lot of harm and zero benefits to the cities in which they operate. They create fear among the residence of these cities. The only effects that we see from gangs are injuries, death and trauma to both its members and the community at large.
Klein, Malcolm W. The American Street Gang: Its Nature, Prevalence, and Control. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print.
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