Gang Violence And The United States

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Gangs have been a part of American culture in the United States since the early 19th century when immigrant youth organized themselves into street gangs as a means of urban and economic survival. Today, gang violence has reached an almost catastrophic level in the United States. Criminal street gangs have become one of the most serious crime problems in California. Gang violence accounts for one of the largest personal threats to public safety for nearly all the cities in this state. Salinas, California is a relatively small Central Coast agricultural town with a population of just over 150,000. The City of Salinas has been dealing with gang and youth violence for over 50 years. Salinas ' gang homicide victims are among the youngest in the state. Over the past few years, youth gang involvement in Salinas has reached a critical level and gang-related homicides are at an all-time high. Youth gang violence is a social problem that not only affects the individual, but the community as a whole. While there has been an increase of gang-related issues lately, it is certainly not an unfamiliar or current problem for Salinas. The violent crime associated with organized street gangs has a well-recognized and extensive history in the Salinas Valley. Youth are at the heart of gang violence as both perpetrators and victims. A recent study concluded that Monterey County ranked number one in homicide victimization for youth between the ages of 10-24 in California for the years 2009 and
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