The United States of America has a strong history of gang related violence inside and outside of correctional facilities. Federal law defines gangs as an ongoing organization comprised of more than five persons who engage in serious criminal offenses (Giffiths, Howell, 2016, p. 100). Typically, gangs are a social organization with their own law, order, politics, and economy. Gangs may have a written or unwritten set of rules in which all members need to oblige to. Gangs are notorious for being organized in a particular geographic territory or deteriorating neighborhoods that are usually poor economically (Decker, Van Winkle, 1996, p. 5). Gangs also have unique names, colors, symbols, and participate in particular criminal activities in order
The problem of classifying gangs has interested both sociologists and law enforcement. For the purpose of law enforcement, a gang is generally defined as an organized group among the members of which there is well-designed communication. This paper evaluates classification schemes from current research for gangs. The objective is to discover the issues and problems in creating classifications for gangs including a definition which delineates what constitutes a gang and differentiates it from other social and sports groups. The paper also compares approaches to classifications of gangs and evaluates how these classifications provide specific insights or information about gangs in a community.
In the early twentieth century, the term “gang” was associated with groups in socially disorganized and deteriorated inner-city neighborhoods: It was applied to juveniles who engaged in a variety of delinquencies, ranging from truancy, street brawls, and beer running to race riots, robberies, and other serious crimes (Regoli, Hewitt, DeLisi, 2011). There were several gangs within the United States, which included street gangs, prison gangs, motorcycle gangs, and organized crime gangs that still exist today. The word “gang” is derived from the word “gonge,” which is a term that means a journey. Frederic Thrasher who was called the “Father of Gang Research”, who defined the word gang as kids in the streets back in the 1920s.
There are many definitions for what a gang is. According to The National Gang Center website, one definition of a gang is a group of youngsters or adolescents who associate closely, often exclusively, for social reasons, especially a group engaging in delinquent behavior such as a gang of thieves. Some factors that make a gang a gang are that the group has three or more members, generally aged 12–24, the members share an identity, typically linked to a name, and often other symbols. The members view themselves as a gang, and they are recognized by others as a gang. The group has some permanence and a degree of organization and the group is involved in an elevated level
Qualitative descriptions suggest that, for many, gang membership represents 104 Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice / May 2005an opportunity to enhance social capital as a means to cope with a multitude of problems. Although on balance gang life appears to be neither very rewarding nor satisfying (Hagedorn, 1988), identification with the gang is solidified in response to conflict—often with other gangs—as members pursue their individual and collective interests.
Gang involvement and its associated violent crime have become a rapidly growing problem for the United States. Generally, gangs consist of young people of the same ethnic, racial, and economic background. Usually of a low socio-economic status, these gangs engage in illegal money making activities and intimidate their neighborhoods and rival gangs with violent crimes and victimization. Gang members exemplify a high value for group loyalty and sacrifice.
Gangs are becoming prevalent in today’s society and within our schools. More and more young people are turning to gangs in an attempt to escape their everyday lives and the future, which they perceive as dismal and bleak. They are initially attracted to the prestige and cash flow, which is glamorized by the street gang. Many gangs are actively involved in criminal misconduct, such as drug and gun trafficking, burglaries and homicides. However, street gangs are not just a criminal justice issue, but a social problem, which is triggered by poverty, peer pressure, boredom, despair and lacking a sense of belonging.
In James Howell’s “Gangs in America’s Communities” book he mentions that a gang should be looked at more of as a social network rather than an “organization” (Howell, 2012, p.60). This can be especially true for the youth who get involved in gangs. For the youth it is normal for them to want to belong somewhere so their peers have major influences in what they do and even how they think. The emergence or involvement of a gang among youth is identifying with each other and eventually giving themselves a name. Howell then describes the next step as grasping the gang culture by wearing distinctive clothing, colors, having rituals, gatherings, and the exclusion of other youth. Most youth join gangs between the ages of 11 and 15, the peak of gang involvement usually occurs between the age of 14 to 16. Some of the risk factors that get them involved in a
Gangs are very dangerous to everyone in society. “Gangs are groups of people (mostly young males) who band together for protection and a sense of belonging. The U.S. Department of Justice officially defines a youth gang as a group of young people involved in criminal activity” (Gangs 1). There are about one million gang members in more than 20,00 criminally active gangs in the United States. Also, that group of about one million people, are accountable for up to eighty percent of our nation’s crimes. Since 2005, gangs have nationally added about 200,000 members (Targeting Gangs 1). This is why more action from the community needs to be taken to help with the growing gang-related crimes here in America.
There were seven hundred recorded gang-related expulsions from educational institutions in Memphis in 2010 (Operation: Safe Community, 2011). The most current data I was able to locate suggests a steady incline in youth identified as gang members in Memphis, increasing from six hundred sixty in 2007 to eight hundred sixteen in 2009. There are nine thousand one hundred documented gang members and one hundred and seventy gangs in Memphis (Goggans, 2014). These numbers only reflect the known
One of the many problems involved with gang injunctions is that there is not a clear definition of what a gang is. Numerous definitions of gangs have come about through the decades. For example, the 2006 National Youth Gang Survey defines a gang as “a group of youths in your jurisdiction that you are willing to classify as a gang” (Egley, O’Donnell, 2008). This definition of a gang is very vague because any group of youths can be seen as a gang. This definition does not always work. For example, a group of people who share a common interest like reading books or collecting baseball cards can be labeled as a “gang.” The National Gang Center and federal law define a gang as “any ongoing group, club, organization, or association of five or more person: A) that has as one of its primary purposes the commission of one or more of the criminal offenses; B) the members of which engage, or have engaged within the past five years, in a continuing series of offenses; and C) the activities of which affect interstate or foreign commerce (Brief review of Federal and State definitions, 2009, p.1).
The gang in Memphis, Tn migrated from Chicago and California, in which they called themselves the Crips and the Bloods subsets, Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, Latin Kings, Blac P. Stones, Four Corner Hustles to name a few. These gangs are known for their juvenile memberships. However, the Gang Reduction Assistance for Saving Society's Youth (GRASSY) program has provided resources for gang members by making nearby streets more feasible. This organization has reduced gang conflicts in nearby school by 63 percent. In doing such there is an increase in school attendance and graduation of gang members. It is Ron Pope goal to ensure that school-age student will become inactive in their gang membership(Goggans, L., 2014). In the state of Tennessee,
Security has always been of major concern in many institutions across the world. This is perhaps because the success of many activities is highly dependent on the security that they associate themselves with. This report focuses on the gangs in Los Angeles, California. This task in this region has been mandated upon the Los Angeles Police Department, popularly referred to as the LAPD. The major stakeholders are the competent and highly qualified staff members within the department who have the necessary capacity to deal with the violent criminal gangs. The main problem that is targeted is the eradication of the criminal gangs within the region. This is through the elimination of illegal firearms, elimination of drive-by shootings and enactment of anti-graffiti laws which promote the gang activities. The graffiti have been shown by recent research to portray the gang territories.
In building upon the precedent set within the Riverside community of Memphis, I would direct the Multi-Agency Gang Unit to gather more intelligence about other gangs within the city (Goggans, 2014). The Riverside Rollin’ 90 Crips were deemed to be a public nuisance
There is no universally accepted definition for gangs considering the many definitions that have been advanced by scholars. Due to lack of universality of gang definition, there have been little consensus concerning what should constitute a gang and the precise definition of a gang member. Esbensen et al (2001) asserted that experts have reported faults with almost all definitions of a gang. Thrasher (1963, p, 40) boasts for being the first person to provide a comprehensive definition for a gang. He defined it as an interstitial group initially formed spontaneously and eventually integrated through conflict.