Gang violence is a serious security threat in the U.S. It has a history dating back to 1800s. Gang traces its origin back in the 19th century when diverse ethnic groups and religions began to enter the U.S. Some of the immigrants also joined gangs to assist them in gaining elusive identity, defend themselves against counter attack from other groups as well as establish a general universe of their presence. Although individuals feared the street gangs in the 19th century, the gangs that rose in the 21st century posed greater threats to the public security than any other time before (Taylor 17). The majority of the criminal activities during the early 20th century comprised of delinquent activities or other petty crimes. However, as time progressed, gangs started to be involved in serious crimes thus, posing higher security risks to the people and the region at large. This essay proposes a one solution mechanism to gang violence. In particular, it focuses on a single solution of resolving gang violence by restraining young kids from joining gangs.
Due to the serious threat that Gangs have posed to the society, this area has attracted numerous researchers into some of the fundamental causes of the problem in order to generate evidence-based solution. In particular, most of the gangs join the groups at early ages. The impact of this development is elaborate. For instance, the public health officials in the U.S report that the response to incidences of gang violence is always insufficient under the constrained national budgets. In this regard, the best alternative to this challenge is to prevent gang development. Therefore, the mechanism that would derail the initial stages of joining gangs are considered very effective (Hill, et al. 12).
To begin with, the public health officials have a primary role to play in preventing individual youths from joining these gangs. For many years, gang membership has long been perceived as a public safety issue but has a central implication on the public health. To solve the problem, the problem must be viewed from both public safety and public health perspectives. Experts state that a public health model should be adopted towards helping children from joining gangs. The policymakers and general public should invest in programs and strategic measures focusing long-term research works and programs developments that would inculcate good behavior and deter prospective joining of gangs as opposed to punishment as a solution to the problem. Historically, punishment has been used more often to resolve the problem of gang violence but the results have been short-term with inability to generate a long-term solution (Taylor 16).
The public health personnel and experts should contribute significantly in developing solid definitions, data systems and data elements essential in enhancing understanding of the extent of gang-joining and the entire problem of gang violence. Besides, the public health should engage in monitoring youth engagement in gang violence, identifying risks associated in order to prescribe protective factors against youths joining gangs. To realize this scenario, there should be operational changes within agencies and coordination of the funding streams in order to enhance multi-sectoral agency to monitor and control gang joining and eventual gang violence (Hill & David et al. 8). Besides, the systems must be established for evaluation of procedures and mechanisms of evaluating and controlling gang violence based on research finding and other innovative strategies.
Secondly, the law enforcement agencies are also fundamental to developing strong capacity to tame run-away gang violence. In particular, the law enforcement agencies must change from their traditional roles anchored on the perceptions as crime fighters and improve their collaboration with the community, schools and public health sector to prevent front-end prevention approaches. Other studies based on gangs show that the law enforcement agencies have a central role in preventing gang membership by preventing youths from joining gangs. The law enforcement agencies have a responsibility to protect and serve simultaneously (Hill & David et al. 11). Subsequently, they are charged with the responsibility of preventing young kids from joining gangs as well.
The law enforcement agencies can also play an important role in communitys efforts to thwart kids from joining gangs and reduce gang violence through gathering of essential knowledge of the places suffering from gang problems and the groups that are vulnerable to the violence. This could be done through patrol machinery that is already in place. The prospects of the police working with other groups charged with the same responsibility also enhances police credibility and legitimacy n the process especially when focused to at-risk communities and youths. Several groups in the community have expressions of interest and make prescribed measures towards reducing attractions of gangs (Hill & David et al. 13). The partnership of such groups and the police would result into increased visibility of the gang-membership-prevention activities through enhanced trust and promotion of overall community efficacy in gang-membership reduction.
Thirdly, schools also play a significant role in reducing gang membership of the youths. Studies show that schools have a major role to play in assessing gang problems among kids. Schools must also implement prevention strategies at school level in order to address fear in schools. Subsequently, this results in reduced risk of joining gangs by the kids hence a reduction in gang violence in the long-run. The provision of a safe environment in school reduces incidences of fear and further constrains chances of gang-joining (Howell 6). The communities prospects must also be aligned with the schools priorities not aimed at enhancing educational outcomes in isolation but also prevent a cycle of school disorder being perpetuated with the community disorganizations. In this regard, the principal from schools affected by gang problem must not only recognize the problem but also admit its existence in order to amass larger effort from the stakeholders to restrain the practice through collaborative approach. School-based programs might however be unable to reach out to groups of children that have been fully integrated into crimes as majority has dropped out of school (Howell 7). As a result, these measures must be supplemented with additional mechanism from the society for better results.
Thirdly, the community has a major role to reduce gang violence through reduction of teenagers joining gangs. Major emphasis on school-based programs have however tended to neglect the supreme role of the community in minimizing youths joining gangs. Most often, the class-room based measured have no disconnect with the street episodes. This should be changed to combine the two perspectives of school-based and community-based mechanisms enhancing measures to reduce gang memberships and further restrain gang violence. In the contemporary situation, economic pressures have resulted into constrained budgets to such measures of youth-development programs. As a result, the community must partner with other stakeholders to kick away gang membership particularly at tender age (Howell 14). However, communities should build up strong counter measures from existing realms.
Finally, families should also inculcate best practices and derail the prospects of kids joining gang members as an early prevention strategy. This measure has been identified as essential approach that increases preventive roles of preventing gang-joining. Studies shows that both antisocial and aggressive behaviors during childhood stage of development presents a major risk for: violence, crimes and gang involvements in future. Research shows that early age is closely related to family functioning which may include serious disruptions during parenting. Finally, the mechanism involved in preventing young kids from joining gangs is very essential in resolving the problem of gang violence in the long-run. In this regard, the prospective mechanisms of reducing membership at tender age through mutual focus by all stakeholders such as schools, security personnel and the civil society would yield a scenario of high resilience of community members against gang violence and consequential reduction in the prevalence of gang violence.
Hill, Karl G., Christina Lui, &J. David Hawkins. Early precursors of gang membership: A studyof Seattle youth. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs,Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2001.
Hill, Karl G., et al. "Childhood risk factors for adolescent gang membership: Results from theSeattle Social Development Project." Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency36.3 (1999): 300-322.
Howell, James C. "Gang Prevention: An Overview of Research and Programs. Juvenile JusticeBulletin." Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2010).Taylor, Terrance J. "The Boulevard Ain't Safe for Your Kids... 1 Youth Gang Membership andViolent Victimization." Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 24.2 (2008): 125-136.
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