Jackson State University
Youth & Gang Violence
Definition of Problem
As an African American,I often wondered why people were in gangs and what made them want to involve themselves in violent activity. I grew up in a predomintely all black neighborhood and many of the kids I grew up with were in some type of gang affiliation Desciples, Vice Lord and Latin Kings. Gangs and violence is still happening every day which hit the headline news with young gang bangers gunning or beating each other down. Youth gangs are generally believed to have first appeared in Western Europe or Mexico. The reason for the emergence of gangs in the United States is uncertain, as is the exact date. The earliest recorded incidence of youth gangs dates back to 1783 or towards the end of American Revolution. Social upheaval, displaced families, and a new economy may have caused this birth of a new sub-culture taking form. Youth gangs may have emerged spontaneously from pre-teen social groups or as a response to the industrialization of American culture. The typical age span for people to join gangs today is twelve to twenty five years of age, but some members are joining as young as the age of eight years old. (Hamlin 1998) This brings one to ask the obvious question of why. Why are these children choosing to live such a life of violence and crime? There are many factors that apply to this question. Lonely juveniles who suffer from depression are likely to join gangs. Children who are often picked on are looking for acceptance and through a gang they get exactly that. Youth who come from poor, broken families are also susceptible to join gangs. Most of these juveniles are simply looking for acceptance because they are not getting enough of it where it should be coming from.
Review of the literature
A major quality of life issue is the issue of teenagers being influence by others to join gangs. This is a major quality of life...