An introduction to the issue of gangs

Yet in the last few years, law-enforcement and public schools everywhere have experienced a virtual epidemic of youth violence that is rapidly spreading from the inner cities to the suburbs. Gang activity not only means unsightly graffiti, but accelerated crime and dropout rates, the deterioration of neighborhoods, parks, and playgrounds, and wasted human resources everywhere. And an important first step toward solutions that work is understanding the forces that cause youths to join gangs.

An introduction to the issue of gangs

Our Focus of Attention Getting a Handle on the Local Situation One thing which has become clear to me over the past three years is that we must learn about the nature of the gangs and gang members which populate our own community or neighborhood before any meaningful action may be taken.

An Introduction to Gangs - George W. Knox - Google Books

Generalizations about gangs in the United States are meaningless as concerns designing ways in which to reduce gang activity found in one's own neighborhood. In this regard, an understanding of one's local gang situation should guide a community's or neighborhood's anti-gang efforts.

This prerequisite for effective action is also supported by research conducted by the U. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Community responses to gangs must begin with a thorough assessment of the specific characteristics of the gang themselves, crimes they commit, other problems they present, and localities they effect.

An introduction to the issue of gangs

Howell, p. Nor should the residents overreact to the gang situation. Overreaction in the form of excessive police force and publicizing of gangs may inadvertently serve to increase a gang's cohesion, facilitate its expansion, and lead to more crime.

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Police, particularly if they have begun to differentiate between gang- and non-gang-related crimes, can provide valuable information to guide an anti-gang effort. Juvenile officers, probation and parole officers, school officials, youth-serving agencies in the community, local residents, and prosecutors experienced in working with gang members add an important dimension to a community's understanding of its gang situation.

And, as Howell notes, outside expertise may also be needed. Because gang problems vary from one community to another, police, courts, corrections, and community agencies often need assistance from gang experts in assessing their gang problem s and in developing appropriate and measured responses.

Howell,p. What kind of data should be collected? In addition to the number of gang-related gang-motivated and gang-member crimes crimes, you may also want data which measures the causes of gang formation.

How much child abuse is there in the community? How much teen pregnancy? How many single parents living below the poverty level? How much unemployment among the poor?

What are the rates of truancy and dropping out from local schools? How many children are fatherless? There are other meaningful indicators of an at-risk population.

Local social service providers are usually well aware of what those indicators are. Once data on the indicators is collected it is also suggested that the data be collected annually as a measure of how the community is doing in reducing the indicators over time.

The data may also be used as a way to measure the effectiveness of efforts to reduce gang activity and youth violence. Reducing the causes of gang formation may also reduce child abuse and teen pregnancy rates and other problems some youth are experiencing. A Model for Problem Solvingsuggests that When communities decide to take action to deal with gang problems, it is common for the individuals involved to feel overwhelmed by the concerns associated with these problems - both the broad social problems and the behaviors causing specific harm.

The public, media, and local government agencies can become fixated on an undefined 'gang problem. How does a community or group approach gang problems? BJA, pp. A more constructive approach is to take large problems and break them into smaller, more manageable ones, such as addressing graffiti at a specific location rather than citywide.

Into the Abyss: Focusing on the Issue - Introduction

This approach allows for the development of individualized responses that can be assembled into comprehensive solutions. It also reduces resistance to efforts which may be undertaken in the future. As Weick suggests: Small wins help people learn about a specific problem, their ability and resources to deal with it, and problem solving in general.

Small wins are easily understood and rewarding. One small win often leads to additional small wins by bringing in new partners with new information and innovative ways of approaching and solving problems.Gangs in the United States include several types of groups, including national street gangs, local street gangs, prison gangs, motorcycle clubs, and ethnic and organized crime gangs.

Approximately million people were part of gangs as of , and more than 33, gangs were active in the United States. This Issue Gangs– Introduction page 1 Gangs– What Makes a Youth Gang page 2 Gangs– Some Gangs in Snohomish County page 3 Graffiti– A Primer page 4 Gangs– What Parents Can Do to Keep Their Child Out page 5 Gangs– For More Information page 6.

Page 2 Under state law (RCW ). To summarize, research on gangs has shown the gang problem to be increasing dramatically. Gang members list many reasons for joining a gang, including protection, peer pressure, economic needs, social needs, power, because relatives are members, a .

Focusing on the Issue. Introduction. Community responses to gangs must begin with a thorough assessment of the specific characteristics of the gang themselves, crimes they commit, other problems they present, and localities they effect.

That is discussed in . Addressing Community Gang Problems: A Practical Guide Executive Summary Chapter 1: Introduction Contemporary gangs—variously known as youth or delinquent gangs and street or criminal gangs—have become a widespread threat to communi-ties throughout .

Gangs (Introducing Issues With Opposing Viewpoints) [Scott Barbour] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Presents a collection of articles and questions that debate a variety of topics on the subject of gangs.

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