Does gang violence affect communities around the United States

Does gang violence affect communities around the United States? There are plenty of problems involved with gangs that affect the community: including, the category of crimes being committed, involvement of adolescents, use of illegal guns in gang brutality, different characteristics in male and female gang members, and connections between geography and social networking on gangs. The amount of gang violence in today’s society is teaching younger generations that it is appropriate to associate with gangs, causing crime rates to increase rapidly.
Gang-related crime rates have risen drastically over the last few centuries. Researchers have recently unearthed that over the last few centuries gang members have become inherently more violent. Gang members are also more likely to take part in delinquent behavior over someone that is not involved with a gang. Since gang-related crimes have increased drastically individuals are joining gangs at a younger age than other centuries. The crimes in which the gang members are committing are becoming more menacing. Major offenses that are being perpetrated are drug-related, homicides, and the use of illegal firearms. In past centuries gangs favored large cities rather than small, suburban or rural areas. Gangs have increased their activity in medium to small cities, which has caused criminal activity rates to peak. The article “Youth Violence, Guns, and The Illicit-Drug Industry” documents this fact as “the nation’s most serious problem”(Deschenes). Between the years of 1972 and 1993 murder and robbery rates were shockingly similar. The trend between robberies and murders increased in the late 1980’s due to the crack epidemic. During this epidemic, the murder rate remained remotely the same and there was a slight incline in robberies. Youth crime rates seem to peak at the age of seventeen for both burglary and robbery. Crime levels decrease at the age of twenty-one for burglary, and twenty-four for robbery. The article “The Corner and the Crew: The Influence of Geography and Social Networks on Gang Violence” states that “Gang-related homicides account for 20 to 50 percent of all homicides in cities like Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Pittsburg, and St. Louis”(Papachristos). The age standard for juveniles arrested for murders spikes around the ages of eighteen through twenty-four then decreases. The rates of gang-related assassinations have increased drastically over the centuries. There has been research done stating that the increase in murders between gangs and gang members may be due to the increase in the use of firearms. Today gang members, as well as adolescents, have wide access to weapons of many varieties. Homicide rates by juveniles have doubled between the years of 1985 and 1992, along with the number of murders committed by youths with a firearm. As stated in the article “Gun Ownership and Gang Membership”, “Hagedorn also discovered that nearly 50% of the gang members interviewed said they possessed more than one firearm and a large majority claimed to at least have one handgun”(Bjerregaard). Researchers believe that the increase in murders between gangs and their members not only has to do with the open access to weapons, but also advanced weaponry. Since weaponry has been modernized it promotes the use of firearms in gang-related crimes. It has been discovered that gang members are being seized in sizeable groups for crimes such as assault with a deadly weapon, shootings, and homicides. The expansion of gun use within gangs does not only increase gang violence, but also aides the advancement of brutality into nearby communities.
Juvenile gang affiliation is becoming a tremendous concern because of the connections between early gang involvement, later involvement, and adult incarceration rates. Although a large portion of the United States gang members exceeds the age of eighteen, it is believed that adolescent gang members are responsible for a majority of the crimes being committed. Female and males share some of the same reasons for joining gangs: fun, protection, money, to gain respect or to fit in with a specific group of individuals. It is also common for young adults to be forced into a gang by older gang members. Males tend to join gangs for money vs females who tend to join due to family violence or abuse. Studies show that it is less likely for young gang members to be raised in a two-parent household. Growing up in a single-parent household has led more females to be involved with gangs later in life than males. Family issues greatly affect adolescents who associate with gangs. Factors implicated with female gang incorporation is no father involvement, divorces, domestic violence, or encountered abuse at a young age. Although the rate of childhood female abuse documented is higher than males the issue still takes place in both genders. These single-parent households commonly have a parent that works more than one job or a parent that does not work at all generating more stress within the home. Family impacts the likelihood of younger children being associated with gangs. If a pubescents family is involved within gangs or criminal behavior the risk of the young adult becoming caught up in the life of violence is greatly higher. It has been discovered that it is common for female gang members to be younger than male gang members. Females involved in gangs tend to experience more sexual victimization or threats by older gang members to take part in the crimes. Unlike females, males do not tend to get sexually victimized but are at a greater risk to encounter violent victimization. Researchers have just recently begun to study the differences between male and female gang members. Minimal research has been conducted to determine female involvement within gangs. Indeed, people tend to believe that only males commit the violent crime associated with gangs such as homicide, assaults, robberies, and other brutalities. Men are seen to be highly more aggressive than women, but women’s aggression is commonly ignored There are very few programs in place to help females entangled in gangs, unlike the many interventions set to aide male gang members. The main goal for these programs is to prevent gang affiliation and address the underlined issue with gangs in today’s societies. Females who encounter gangs ordinarily socially isolate themselves, tend to have a low self-esteem and higher risk behaviors causing them to need serious and more direct care when seeking intervention.
Geography and social networking are additional factors in the expansion of gangs cross communities in the United States. Gangs are looked at as the consequence of neighborhood and social media interactions. A lot of conflicts happen between gangs because of things that are said over social media; which results in an incline of violent crimes in high-risk gang neighborhoods. Gangs are commonly started over social networking sites. These sites led gangs to join together and partake in illegal activities. Once these individuals come together they make a name for themselves. Gangs are a huge part of the United States today. It is estimated that there are 28,100 gangs nationwide. The most common known cause of conflict between gangs is violence over geographic areas, disrespect, or revenge. Gangs serve as both protectors and criminals in their communities. The members of the gang switch between normal citizens and gang bangers. This pattern shows how gang members can be apart of the community in which they live but also do things that can cause harm to the people in their neighborhood. They commit serious crimes to protect their territory and the people that live in it. Gang bangers often take more pride in their neighborhood than an average citizen; they often see themselves as a symbolic figure that represents the neighborhood itself. Gangs are a social group of individuals that have things in common. In earlier centuries street gang involvement was for lower-classes adolescents to have a place in society, and let their voices be heard, even if that was by committing crimes. A gang has to think about how all of their actions are going to be construed because their identities are so important to the people that are apart of the gang. Gang leaders have to ensure that their gang is on top and looked at as if it is the best. Although most people believe all gangs are ruthless in fact they are not, due to the protection they provide for their community. Gangs do a substantial amount of things that have a healthy impact on their societies.
In conclusion, the increase in gang brutality in communities today is teaching adolescents that it is acceptable to partake in gang activities: triggering a spike in crime rates nationwide. Young adults are joining gangs as a way to fit in with their friends or to obtain money. Research is still being conducted to determine how to solve the ongoing issue with gang affiliation, as well as the connections between gangs and the rising crime rate.