The Origin Of Juvenile Gangs

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According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology,

“Gangs are groups of children, adolescents and young adults who share a common identity and

are involved in wrongful or delinquent activities,” (“Gangs,” 2016.). The U.S. Department of

Justice and 31 of the 50 states’ definitions include some form of the following criteria: 3 or more

members, have a form of identity in which they associate themselves, and involvement in some

type of criminal activity (“National Gang Report, 2013), (“National Gang,” 2016). Gangs do not

discriminate based on age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Juvenile gangs can be

found in large cities, small towns, suburbs, and even rural areas. Although the exact date that

youth gangs started in the United States, it is believed that they actually began around the 1780’s

after the Revolutionary War. Even in the earliest history of youth gangs, there seems to be a

direct correlation of gangs with criminal activity and/or violence. Our nation has enacted

legislation and punishment for any gang related crimes and violence. Prevention and

intervention programs have also been enacted to try and remedy this issue in our country.

Historically, research suggests that gangs grew out of a response to living conditions

(mostly poor conditions). The earliest record of a youth gang was in 1783 after the

Revolutionary War. After that, it is believed that gang populations began to grow after
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