Gang Violence in Society

Topics: Gang, Crime, Criminology Pages: 8 (2406 words) Published: June 16, 2005
What Should Be Done About
Gang Violence In Society?

Many people in our society do not think that anything bad will ever happen to them. These people always hear about the issues and problems that are in the world today, but never think they will take place close to home. Gang violence is a major problem in our society today that takes place in many different areas of the world. If nothing is done soon, gang violence could take place in our neighborhoods.

Gang violence is a big problem in our society today. MW Klein, a gang researcher, says that gangs are an aggregation of youths who perceive themselves as distinct, and that are viewed as distinct by the community. Klein also states that the gangs call forth a consistently negative image of themselves through their actions (Klein). To those involved in gangs however, gang membership provided a youth means of attempting to consolidate their gender identities (Douglas). Most of the early American street gangs have historically been ethnically based. Early gangs were mainly Irish, Polish, or Italian (Klein).

Communities all over deal with gang violence. Criminologist and crime writer John E. Douglas, explained how the propagation of street gangs in America and the violence associated with them is disturbing. He mentioned that street gangs have a presence in 94 percent of all the U.S. cities with populations greater than 100,000 (Klein). A number of studies have been conducted dealing with gang violence throughout the world. One particular study in Chicago showed that five percent of elementary school children were affiliated with street gang, as well as 35 percent of high school dropouts (Klein). Elizabeth Van Ella of the Chicago Crime Commission, explained that in Chicago alone, 65,000 documented gang members account for 48 percent of the crime. A majority of the members thrive in business as a way to cover up their schemes (Hutson). They flourish in retail sales, computer sales, hospitals, office buildings, schools, transportation, and security firms. Practically, anywhere that provides a cover for laundering money, and easy mobility (Hutson). Klein explains that another place that has been greatly affected is Los Angeles. Los Angeles has over 950 different gangs with more than 100,000 members. They are not just limited to inner-city ghettos, but are active in over 800 cities nation wide. Overall, nearly 100 cities with population's less then 10,000 report active street gangs (Klein).

Many stereotypes of gangs have been fabricated. The problem is that a majority of gang members do not fit these stereotypes, which, in turn, makes it hard for the to be caught (Klein). Traditionally they organize their group around a specific neighborhood, school or housing project. This geographic orientation has been the roof of inter-gang violence (Klein). Many gangs have an initiation process for the new members to complete. The initiation usually consists of a variety of negative activities. Such activities range from truancy, fighting, vandalism, burglarizing, assault, homicide, and extortion. Another step of initiation may be to get a certain tattoo (Klein). Many gangs have certain hand signals, nicknames, and religious symbols (Hutson). Catching the gangs are very difficult. It involves full, in-depth background checks. This is necessary because most gang members can be very deceiving and are skilled liars (Hutson).

There has been a relationship made between gangs and homicide. John J. Dilulio Jr., a criminologist and author, long-established that in the past year, Los Angeles, has experienced a 131 percent jump in gang related homicides. He also added that these statistics have risen in every other category as well: felony, assault, robbery, kidnap, rape, arson, and carjacking. He stated that this could be a sign showing what is to come to other American cities (Hutson).

Many factors come into play when talking about gang violence....
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