Since the beginning of the decade, contemporary gangs, also known as youth or delinquent gangs, have become a widespread threat to communities throughout the nation, in particular within suburban communities. In 2001, 35% of suburban counties reported gang activity. Once considered largely as an urban phenomenon, gangs have increasingly emerged in smaller communities, presenting a challenge that severely damages local resources. As these gang related crimes increase, officials are trying to find out how and why the existence gangs and their formations have been able to flourish.
However, by studying societies influence on humans, there is evidence to blame several forces. These speculations include the forces of peer pressure, broken families, gang loyalty, protection, and the media.
Urban gangs are one of the most pervasive problems confronting society. America has become a society almost preoccupied with gangs—especially their relationship to drugs and violence. While it is true that violence among gang members has escalated and involvement in drugs has been a feature of gang life for many years, gangs are now increasingly and almost exclusively blamed for the drug and violence problems of the last decade. This is partly because gangs have grown in number and diversity across the Nation, affecting both large cities and smaller communities.
Communities can begin to develop strategies and programs to address their specific gang problems by analyzing the types of gangs affecting their neighborhoods. Communities must recognize that the ways in which gangs are defined will, to a large degree, determine the extent of the gang problem in a neighborhood. Moreover, even when one definition is used, such as the law enforcement definition, this too varies from one jurisdiction to another.