Juvenile Gang Members in the United States

Juvenile gangs in America have become more prevalent and organized than any other time in our history. Juvenile gangs have evolved over a period of time to become some of the most plague group of individuals in our communities. Youth gangs are made up of young individual, male or female, and are typically formed for protection amongst other gangs, or based from social and economic status.

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These juveniles are looking for something that they may not get from the household. Acceptance, security, or means of earning money which is a source that gangs are able to supply. Juvenile gangs have evolved over a period of time, and will continue to grow if not ceased.

Adolescent gangs began in the early 1800s while during the American Revolution as immigration and population began to shift. When cities experienced immigration and industrial development in the latter part of the nineteenth century, organized adolescent groups heavily involved in crime that can be identified as gangs were reported to be active in New York, California, Boston, Chicago. Disorganized aggregations of the children of immigrants from Ireland and Italy roamed the streets of their neighborhoods, largely as disorganized groups engaged primarily in petty forms of property crime, and directing violence against one another, and members of rival gangs. Throughout the years juvenile gangs have spread amongst the United States toward the West and South to form throughout the rest of the states. Drug and criminal operation began to evolve past the petty crimes that were being committed, and turned to the early seventies drug, crack cocaine. The urban gangs grew in the 1970s and expanded dramatically throughout the nation in the late 1980s and early 1990s. (Bartollas & Miller, 2016).

Juvenile gangs in Texas are at the highest that it has ever been. The National Crime Victimization Survey has recorded that these juvenile crimes are being committed the most by juveniles age 12 to 18 years old, and these same juveniles are not academically involved or involved. Texas faces the issue of juveniles not performing well in the school system, schools are not able to have an early prevention when youths get involved with gangs, especially when peer pressure amongst students play a role in criminal behavior. A child’s delinquent behavior is consistently associated with delinquent behaviors of those that they spend time with. Peers influence a child’s behavior more than parents during their teenage years.Texas is not the only state that has a major problem with juvenile gangs, but California is experiencing the highest rate of juvenile gangs compared to any other state. California deals with juvenile gangs that are highly involved in abusing substances, violent sexual abuses, and consistent drop- outs. The youth gangs are attributing to violence and unsafe atmosphere in the California schools, and the academic unsatisfaction in performances for students. These juvenile gangs in California are derived by many of the similar reasons for gangs throughout America. Oftentimes juveniles are looking for recognition from the peers that they surround themselves around. A self of identity that pushed out by knowing that they have a title and position in there gang, also stability. Stability is brought upon by the understanding that the only people that are in the way of their juvenile gang is, law enforcement. Through that stability comes safety and security that most juvenile gangs supply through one another.

Juvenile gangs are commonly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. These investigation steam from the violence of juvenile gangs that are not controlled enough by county departments. Murders that occur in the hands of these gangs are often times put on the desk of the FBI, simply because they are beyond what some law enforcement agency can solve. These juvenile gang are not just subjected to criminal investigation, but also studies that are produced from federal data that shows the kind of gang violence that is occurring and the demographics of gangs. Peer pressure is the influence from members of a particular group. Juvenile gangs have individuals that are constantly in each of their ear influencing them in illegal and destructive ways that are detrimental to them and the community. Through this peer pressure many juveniles get the sense of belonging and popularity from their peers, and often times gang violence is typically pushed through peer pressure. Peer pressure is a problem now for juveniles in general, wanting to fit in is a negative aspect in our society. Teenagers get involved with delinquent friends and move away from from good, or straight friends that choose to do what is right. Juveniles often times start with very little offenses like, smoking cigarettes, taking drinks of illegal alcohol, and sometime petty theft. All of these offenses can be pathway that is linked from peer pressure.

Juvenile gang member join the notorious groups in hopes for protection. Many members get involved because they live in a gang area and are subject to violence by rival gangs. Joining these gangs guarantees support in a situation that an attack happens and retaliations occur. Juvenile gangs can also be an easy way for juveniles to hide their insecurities. Some juveniles cannot fight, or speak up for themselves, but with the gangs that they are involved in they don’t have to fight people along; they can depend on each other. Gangs follow the, I am my brother’s keeper philosophy. They back one another up, and defend one another from rival gangs, and people. It is often easier to be apart of gang affiliation and to just join a gang, rather than be vulnerable to gangs in communities. Juvenile delinquent gangs have also been linked to poor household parenting. Parents are often times blamed for delinquent behavior that of juveniles, and in many courts parents are penalized for the behavior of their children. However, parents can help decrease the risk that their child may become involved in a gang by, monitoring where and who their child is associating with, educating their own about gangs and delinquent behavior and the consequences of gang behavior and criminal involvement. If you have concerns that your child is involved in a gang, it is important to discuss it with them. Confronting a child who is suspected of gang activity is not easy. Parents and children may fear gang retaliation. They may worry about giving up protection or income that they receive because of their child’s gang involvement. Parents may have to deal with the legal consequences of their child’s past behavior. However it is important to be involved to protect your child from drugs, violence and criminal activity.Juvenile gangs affect America starting with the impact on communities, large communities that have major school districts, families, and even businesses suffer to the violence that is portrayed by juvenile gang. These communities have large population and the last thing that is needed is vandalism, assault, and drugs surrounding the streets. City outbreaks with crime often happens, recently many cities in Texas have experienced arson and burned building because of juvenile retaliation.

Arson occurs when a criminal is deliberately setting fires to properties. This is a common outbreak when juvenile gangs are in retaliation, and truly gang initiation, juveniles that are wanting to be apart of gang activity are given a task in order to be apart of the group, and one of the task are to burn a vacant or occupied home down. This is just one of the many ways that juvenile gang members getting initiated. Beating someone down is also a form, and this one is done by finding a individual that already might have a beef with the gang and beat them down consequently possibly killing the individual. This method is down on a one on one basis. The individual that is getting initiated has to go by himself and take care of the task. In order to join a gang, all potential members are required to go through an initiation ceremony to show the gang’s members they “have what it takes.” Young juveniles gangs have been found to have been involved in drive by shooting and city outbreaks within the communities. Drive by shootings is a type of assault that commonly involves the suspect firing a weapon from within a motor vehicle and then fleeing.

These are typically done by rival gangs that are in retaliation with one another. Communities are affected by these gangs because records show that children and bystanders have been killed just simply sitting outside in the area, and they have no association with criminals. These shootings create a major social disorganization based on other juveniles being in these neighborhoods, and seeing the criminal behavior that occurs. This shapes their way of thinking and likelihood to become involved in these crimes, and this is not just limiting drive by shooting, but drugs on the streets, and criminal activity are factors that affect social organization. Common juvenile gangs that are notorious to the communities that we live in are, Black disciples, Chicago Gaylords, 18th Street Gang all located in different cities throughout America. These gang are the epitome of what juvenile gangs want to be like. Many communities have these gangs in surrounding areas around teenagers who are exposed to then violence and crime that is shown. Law enforcement departments are taking the necessary steps to make sure that juvenile gang crime is not taking over the streets, but it is only so much that can be down in certain steps. In California their is around 200,000 gang members that have to contain from being a nuisance in the community, and the City of Los Angeles has experienced an epidemic of youth violence that is rapidly spreading from the inner cities to the suburbs. Gangs are no longer just the problem of those who live in the crime ridden neighborhoods where the gangs thrive, they are now everyone’s problem. Juvenile gangs are continuing to spread across America, and making a negative impact on the communities that people live in. If nothing is done about these particular groups of people then we will continue to see a large epidemic of violence amongst young people. One way that you can start by trying to prevent these types of behavior from occurring with delinquents is, in school activities. Many reason why children are beginning to join gangs and be involved in disruptive behavior is because they don’t have anything to keep them occupied on a daily basis, but not just that, no one to hold them accountable for their mistakes and misfortunes. In – school activities allow young teens to get involved and learn things amongst one another. They teach them self- esteem and how to work towards making a contribution that is beneficial for the group, or a community. Therefore, instead of being a nuisance to those they live in the community with they are actually making a contribution.

Whenever juveniles are participating in these in- school activities it creates a drive within them. An example would be, a young juvenile that is in danger of being an, at risk juvenile, and is put into football. By doing this he can try and further his interest in the sport. He then will likely try college football, and in order to have that in mind he knows that he has to keep his grades up and follow the law, or that dream will not come true. Ultimately it becomes a trickle down effect in order to keep him out of the streets. Get juvenile delinquents involved in sports and activities and they will begin to hold themselves accountable, so that they don’t let themselves or the people around them down. It creates a drive within them that ultimately they don’t want to stop, and go back to the streets that don’t offer anything beyond jail and death. Majority of the time it takes someone to push them to their highest level so that they don’t back track into the ways of the streets that have the hand open to crime.Other contributions to juvenile gangs that are needed in order to ensure that the youths do not join them are, stopping bullying at a young age. Studies show that 35% of youth join gangs from the result of being bullied at some point in their life. As stated earlier in this paper, one of the reason a lot of juvenile join gangs is for protection, and as long as they have that group of violent peers around them that can protect them and ensure that no one ever tries to mess with them, they are safe from outsiders who pose a threat. Bullying in school is one of the leading cause of juvenile death in America. Whether it be through cyberbullying or physical harm done to an individual. Being in a gang makes people scared of you and not want to disturb you, often times you are given a shield that frankly you don’t even have to hold yourself.

Better parenting households will play a huge role in not having a great deal of juveniles in gangs in America. Let them know that you disapprove of gangs and do not want to see them hurt or arrested. Whenever you child is wearing certain clothing, Explain to your children that these clothing items can put them in danger and that you will not purchase them or allow them to be worn. Get to know your children’s friends and the friends’ parents. Be aware of their attitudes toward drugs, alcohol, and gangs. When children start to feel pressure to use drugs or join gangs, it usually comes from the peer pressure of friends. Talk to your children about ways to deal with pressure from friends. Help your children practice simple ways to respond to peer pressure. Set firm limits with your children and teens. Children and teenagers need to know clearly what is expected of them and the consequences for acting otherwise. Do not rescue your children from the consequences of their decisions.A step in preventing gang membership is preventing delin?­quency. To prevent gang membership, state and local officials should consider experimenting with prevention programs that have been found to be effective at reducing delinquency. Juveniles with a history of delinquency are more likely to join gangs and, once in the gang, to engage in higher rates of criminal activity than they would have otherwise. One such strategy is called problem-oriented policing. In that strategy, the police develop a process for inquiring into the nature of problems and then develop specific tactics to address these problems. Police officers engaged in problem-oriented policing do not simply respond to calls for service with an arrest or engage in public relations activities with the com?­munity. Instead, the officer takes steps to define the specific problem, whether it is purse snatching or gang activity, and to identify its causes. After analyzing the problem, the officer then develops a plan to resolve the problem. By using this technique, officers may be able to prevent further occurrences by solving the root causes.

For exam?­ple, officers may encourage the community to exert more control over unruly youth to reduce gang activity.Another great way to prevent and suppress juvenile gang-related crime is to attach principles that respect the distribution of responsibilities among national, state, and local governments. To address juvenile gang-related crime appropriately, the national government has to limit itself to han?­dling tasks that are within its constitutionally designed task, and that state and local govern?­ments cannot perform by themselves. While young criminal street gangs are a problem com?­mon to all of the states, the crimes that they com?­mit are almost entirely, and inherently local in nature and regulated by state criminal law, law enforcement, and courts. For this reason, state and local governments are the most appropriate level of government to develop policies to prevent and suppress most gang-related crime.Youth involved in gangs face a host of consequences ranging from physical violence, jail and even death. The consequences are not only limited to the youth, but also the family members of gang involved youth. Children of incarcerated gang members have had issues associated with mental health, depression, attention disorders, at high risk of foster care placement, and being homeless, also having reduced social supports and increased likeliness of dropping out of school.

Female-involved gang youth often face additional consequences that male youth do not. Female youth will often join a gang to escape sexual or physical abuse in the home, but once part of the gang, can experience domestic violence, bear and care for children as a youth, be forced into prostitution and commit crimes for the gang, often re-experiencing the same traumas they tried to escape when they joined the gang.Even short-term involvement in gangs during adolescence has been linked to long-term consequences. Gang-involved adolescents, when compared to adolescents who were not gang-involved, were half as likely to graduate from school and as adults were 3 times as likely to report committing a crime that year, over a period of times reports show they receive income from illegal sources and more than likely to have spent time incarcerated the preceding year. A survey of gang-involved youth in Oregon finds that one of the main activities associated with gangs is drug sales.Youth gang problems are proliferating across the United States, even in small cities and towns. At the same time, the composition of youth gangs is changing. Smaller, less structured gangs are emerging, and although drug smuggling is generally not an organized activity managed by youth gangs, drug juvenile gangs are more predominant now than in previous decades. The racial/ethnic composition of gangs also is changing, and gangs are becoming more organized. A key issue in combating youth gangs is providing a uniform definition for them distinguishing them from troublesome youth groups, and adult criminal organizations. Youth gangs have different origins, and they serve unique purposes for participants.

Efforts to develop effective long-term interventions must take these differences into consideration.Youth gangs are continuing to grow and America has to find ways to suppress the crime that occurs in the communities. The four simple ways that were given in- school activities, out of school activities, stopping bullying, and better parent household. By applying these tactics to the youth, you can get a hold on them before they get involved with gang activity. It is essential that you also know about the dangers that are associated with violent youth gangs, and the consequences of being involved with criminal activity. Youth gangs have to be stopped if we ever want to put an end drive by shootings, city outbreaks, and school disorganization. Youth gangs don’t just affect the people who deal with them in rivalry, but also the people who deal with indirectly. They are affecting household that have to deal with the violence in the communities, and young children are having to be protected from the street crime that has just gotten out of hand, and often times uncontrollable. It is a continual battle to fight young juvenile gangs in order to make the streets of America a safer place to live. 200,000 gang members just in the state of California along will have the hands of law enforcement agency full, but it is important to be proactive against these young criminals, rather than reactive to the crimes that they will commit.

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