Self identify as a group: they do this by creating a name, initiation rituals, tattoos, gang signs Are recognized by society as a gang- people acknowledge the existence of the gang whether it be law enforcement or the community Participate in illegal activity- this could include things such as prostitution, drug dealing, stealing, murder A Select Territory
Have a collective goal- often times the goal is financial gain or intimidation
At risk youth in latin America
The youth that are most at risk for being involved in youth gangs are youth who grow up in a broken home, have a history of victimization, substance abuse, social isolation and personal characteristics such as low self-esteem. Youth who join a gang and suffer from some of these factors are often looking for acceptance or to belong to something Socio-economic factors such as inequality and poverty also contribute to being a risk factor. Approximately 1/3 of the Latin American population is living in poverty with an additional 71 million people living in extreme poverty. Research shows that the countries in Latin America that exhibit the highest rates of poverty also have the highest homicide rates. Youth may resort to joining a gang to escape poverty or as coping mechanism from living a disadvantaged life Latin America also has very high unemployment rates and high drop out rates. In some countries the percentage of youth not enrolled in school is as high as 63%. This leaves youth with little skills to find work and also the frustration of not being able to support themselves through legitimate means. Urbanization and Institutional Weakness- there are many fast growing cities in Latin America but the security, justice and necessary institutions have not yet been fully developed. Corruption and mistrust is also a huge factor and these contribute to youth feeling like they won’t get caught or punished for joining a gang. Latin American Cultural Norms also have a huge effect on youth gang affiliation. The Latin American culture emphasizes machismo and masculinity. Youth see violence as a way to gain power and respect and look tough. The Latin culture also has gender differences deeply embedded and many men feel they have power over women which contributes to much physical and sexual violence against women. El Salvador
So heres El Salvador on a map, its surrounded by Honduras and Guatemala. It’s a very small country, smaller than Massachusetts. But it is the most densely populated country in Central America. Some crime stats on El Salvador:
Stats from 2013 determined it is the 4th deadliest country in the world with 40.3 homicides per 100,000. In the first 8 months of 2014 11 people a day were being killed, which is very high for a population size that small. Since 2013 over 2000 people have gone missing without a trace in El Salvador. El Salvador police estimate that the country has over 60,000 gang members with the majority of them being under the age of 20. Gangs are responsible for 90% of the homicides that occur in El Salvador. Also has the highest youth homicide rate in the world.
Formed in Los Angeles, California in the 1980s by immigrant Salvadorian youth and young adults who were being victimized by other gangs Many of their founding members had experience or training in guerilla warfare, thus gaining a level of sophistication that their enemies could not compete with. The gang has spread to regions all over the world but has major control in El Salvador. They identify themselves through tattoos, sometimes the size of the tattoo is a indicator of your rank in the gang. They also use the colors blue and white as their gang colors and the number 13. Often members will wear sports attire that has the number 13 or some variation of it. Gang signs such as the devils horns. MS-13 is referred to one of the most dangerous gangs in the world because of their international status and their ride range of criminal activity. The are involved in criminal activity such as kidnapping, drug trafficking, human trafficking, murder and car theft and home invasion. Ernesto was one of the founding members of the MS-13 when they developed in LA. He was a former soldier in El Salvadors civil war before he fled to LA. He was later deported back to El Salvador and tried to turn his life around. He was a father studying law and working to keep kids out of gangs and advocating for greater human rights for prisoners. He was shot to death in the door was of his home in El Salvador by a MS-13 member after declining to go to a party for a gang member who was released from prison. Barrio 18 originated in LA in the 1950s
Also an international gang with members all over the world but has a very strong power in El Salvador Their rivals are the MS-13
The gang members can be identified by their colors black and white and by a common tattoo 666 The gang has strict rules such as gang members must not to illicit drugs, failure to follow the rules leads to death Extortion, Murder, drive by shootings, distribution of narcotics, cocaine and marijuana Known as “The Children’s Army,” the gang is well known for recruiting elementary and middle school aged children. Members range in age between 12 years of age and 28. Josue Miranda was a 14 year old boy who was reported missing this year. He had been approached multiple times to join the gang but would refuse. His older brother fled to the US in fear of being killed for declining to join the gang. The last time his mother talked to him he was leaving work and getting ready to go on a blind date. He was last seen at a bus stop and has been missing without a trace ever since. This is a very common occurrence in El Salvador. Truce: In March 2012 both gangs agreed to a truce to end the violence and killing in El Salvador. Crime rate initially dropped by 40% that year but has begain to quickly rise this year and is appearing to have little effect.