Social Problems Associated with Street Gangs Essay

1804 Words Dec 2nd, 2010 8 Pages
Social Problems Associated with Street Gangs 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. A street gang can be defined as “an organized social system that is both …show more content…
“According to statistics from the National Youth Gang Center, more than 24,500 gangs, consisting of more than 770,000 members, exist in about 3,300 cities in the U.S.” (Rank 1). Although it is not illegal to be a member of a gang, it should be noted many gangs participate in illegal activity for funding and will use the money as a way to entice new membership. The “money begins flowing, and with that comes all of the things associated with material wealth that is usually beyond the reach of these adolescents without the criminal activity of being involved in a gang” (Nawojczyk 3). Many times individuals turn to a gang to escape a life of poverty or financial uncertainty. A sense of hopelessness and desperation can result from being unable to provide the basic necessities. “Young people living in poverty may find it difficult to meet basic physical and psychological needs, which can lead to a lack of self-worth and pride” (Lee, Dean, and Parker 1). Individuals who are faced with a lack of money many times turn to crime if they cannot earn enough at a legitimate job to support themselves or their families. “This partly explains why gangs exist in poor, rundown areas of cities” (Grabianowski 1). Gang crimes, such as graffiti, burglaries, murder and extortion, are devastating to a community’s well-being and sense of security. “The vast majority of violent incidents involving gang members continue to result from fights over
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