The Role of Law Enforcement in Curbing Gang Violence

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Background: Most research shows that the public believes that law enforcement's major goal in many urban and suburban areas is to prevent gang activity. Gang activity is certainly not a new phenomenon, but has been part of human history since Ancient Times (Rome, Greece, the Middle Ages, etc.). In most countries, gang violence patterns the sociological development of society and the evolution of criminal activity - as criminal activity becomes more sophisticated, so do gang activities. While most sociological theories tie gang behavior to youth violence, one can trace a number of changes in gang violence to the way organized crime has evolved in the United States (Franzese, et al., 2006). At the beginning of the 20th century, for instance, gangs were often based around ethnic boundaries and confined within ethnic neighborhoods. These early gangs tended to focus on non-violent or human weakness crime (e.g. prostitution, gambling, nontaxable cigarettes and alcohol). Once gambling because legal in Nevada, much of the organized crime dealing with gambling moved to Las Vegas, while still retaining some ties to the major metropolitan areas. As tastes changed, so did the criminological focus of gangs; from liquor to drugs, from drugs to social and political control back focusing on ethnic boundaries (e.g. Asian, Latino, etc.) (Jackson and McBridge, 2000).
Overview of the Research The research conducted was done between 1990 and 1993 focusing on gang behavior. The researchers

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