Sociology- Gangs

Topics: Gang, Crime, Criminology Pages: 4 (1652 words) Published: April 12, 2013
A gang is “an association of three or more individuals, whose purpose in part is to engage in criminal activity and which uses violence or intimidation to further its criminal objectives” (National Institute of Justice). Gangs are organized as structured social groups, being more complex than they might first seem. When criminals come together as a group, trouble is bound to occur, and these gangs become a powerful force that must be combated. Gangs are well known, but how do gangs operate? Why do gangs exist? Why do they form and continue to thrive? And what can be done to stop them? Taking action against gangs is important for the well-being of society. Gangs lead to increased violence and crimes, neither of which is wanted in a major city. What will be done to stop these criminal organizations, and will they ever be eliminated from society? Gangs are known for their violence and merciless behavior. “Gangs can be organized around race or ethnic group, money making activities, or territory” (The Reality of Gangs). Gangs usually secure an area of land and mark it as theirs. A gang will protect their territory, fighting rival gangs who move into their area. In this territory, the gangs sell drugs, break the law, and grow in numbers, always recruiting to gain power. Gang members show their affiliation with tattoos, hand symbols, clothing, and style. They use their affiliation to intimidate others and to gain respect. The average gang member is a “male ranging in age from 8 to 22 years old” (The Reality of Gangs). Only about 8% of gang members are female, and 40% are under the age of 18 (Gang Statistics). He is most likely black or hispanic, as 47% of gang members are hispanic and 31% are black, with only 13% being white (Gang Statistics). The average gang member resides in an urban setting, although gangs have begun to spread their influence to suburban and rural areas. “Typical gang-related crimes include alien smuggling, armed robbery, assault, auto theft, drug...
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