Sociological Theories and Gang Violence

Topics: Gang, Crime, Sociology Pages: 8 (3273 words) Published: December 10, 2013


The sociological analysis of gang membership explores the different types of effects that arise due to criminal involvement. Because of the social conflicts that are associated with gang membership, this paper will explore the different theories of social learning and both personal and control issues that relate to the recent surge in crime across Chicago. As we open the doors of a crime ridden society, the truth begins to unfold. It isn’t just the thought of helping, it is the action that remains the barrier between living a life of crime or a life that carries hope.

The number of violent encounters has readily declined, yet, violence has flooded the streets of Chicago, Illinois. In 2012 there were over five hundred murders committed in the city of Chicago alone (Lemmer, Bunsinger, & Lurigio, 2008). The desensitization of communities have become more apparent as the acceptance of gang activity has become part of the norm. Observation of vicarious behavior by other social groups suggest that the rationalization of choice is desired, so long as gangs conform bonds across city streets (Lilly,Cullen, & Ball, 2011). Predicting the future is not too far-fetched, when it comes to socialization. Many theorists suggest that society can’t afford acceptance of crime without accepting some responsibility. Resulting from the absence of internalized rules and regulations, criminal behavior is governed by the justice system (Lilly,Cullen, & Ball, 2011). Stepping deeper into the recent gang activities, that have prevailed in society within Chicago, former Gangster Disciple Harold Ward, speaks of the corruption among leaders in the city and their approval of the cartels from Mexico who have taken over their society as a whole (Pundit, 2013). Whether people agree or disagree, social disorganization among their neighborhoods is one of the dominant perspectives that defines criminalization of gang members. In order for the decriminalization to occur there needs to be further organized programs within the communities across our nation. I continue to speak of the statistics about Chicago, but there is more than just one city across the United States that suffer the threat of gang violence every day. According to FBI statistics, there are 1.4 million active gang members in the United States today. Statistics show that although gang violence has decreased overall in numbers, it still remains prevalent in many neighborhoods today. Murder rates have soared over the past few years on the streets of Chicago (Lemmer, Bunsinger, & Lurigio, 2008). In fact, in 2012, the city of Chicago had over 400 murders of which 80% is gang related. These murders occurred because of gangs fighting over turf, attempting to uphold their reputation, and retaliation against one another. According to former gang member Harold “Noonie” Ward, the violence on the streets of Chicago stem from the Mexican drug cartels. He believes that the city of Chicago has become a haven for these cartels to place their people. Even though many of the higher ranking members of the gangs are locked up, the mass amount of drugs entering Chicago has not seized. Noonie believes that there are many officials who are profiting from the drugs that are being brought in and thus refusing to make it stop (Pundit, 2013). News reports show that in Chicago alone there are 100,000 gang members per every 12,000 police officers (Rosenzweig, 2013). These are obvious numbers that outweigh one another. On a national level 40% of all homicides (in major cities) were gang related and in 2011 gang members were responsible for 61% of homicides. The average age of gang members ranges from sixteen to nineteen, but some members are as young as thirteen. There was a 25% increase in gang activity in Chicago from 2009-2012 (Rosenzweig, 2013). The idea of violence and deviance has been long misunderstood. There...

References: Akers, R. L. (1990). Rational Choice, Deterrence, and Social Learning Theory in Criminology: The Path Not Taken. The Journal Of Criminal Law And Criminology (1973-), (3), 653. doi:10.2307/1143850
Akers, R
Borade, G., (2013) Theory of Social Control. Retrieved from
Chibnall, S
Chibnall, S. H., & Abbruzzese, K. (2004). Risk and protective factors of child delinquency. Juvenile Justice - Causes and Correlates: Findings and Implications, IX(1), 30-31. Retrieved from
Dnes, A
Lemmer, T. J., Bensinger, G. J., & Lurigio, A. J. (2008). An analysis of police responses to gangs in Chicago. Police Practice & Research, 9(5), 417-430. doi:10.1080/15614260801980836
Lilly, J
L T Winfree Jr ; T Vigil-Backstrom ; G L Mays. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (n.d.). (NCJ 146456). Retrieved from website:
Prather, W., & Golden, J
Reiss, D., Leve, L. D., & Neiderhiser, J. M. (2013). How Genes and the Social Environment Moderate Each Other. American Journal Of Public Health, 103(S1), S111-S121. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301408
Rosenzweig, M
Russell, B. (2006, November 30). Control theories of crime. Retrieved from
"Social Control." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences
"Social Learning Perspective." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 2008. 25 Oct. 2013
Thornberry, T
Welch, M., Tittle, C., Yonkoski, J., Meidinger, N., & Grasmick, H. (2008). Social Integration, Self-control, and Conformity. Journal Of Quantitative Criminology, 24(1), 73-92. doi:10.1007/s10940-007-9039-x
Wood, J
Wyrick, P. A., & Howell, J. C. (2004). strategic risk-based response to youth gangs. Juvenile Justice - Causes and Correlates: Findings and Implications,IX(1), Retrieved from
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Social Theories: Gang Violence Essay
  • Psychological and Sociological Theories of Domestic Violence Research Paper
  • gang violence Essay
  • Gangs Violence Essay
  • Essay about Gang Violence
  • Gang Violence Essay
  • Gang violence Essay
  • Gang Violence Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free