Thomas Edison State College
February 09, 2014
“According to the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment report, gangs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions, and up to 90 percent in others” (Gangs, n.d.). Such high numbers in crime involvement raise a concern. What are some characteristics of gangs?
Gang members mostly are males with females being 20%-40% of gang members. According to NYGC 2012 survey most gang members are above age 18 with some as young as 11 years old with gang membership peak of 14 and 15 years old (Egley, Maxon, Miller, & Klein, 2014). When compared across area ...view middle of the document...
* Protection - many members join because they live in the gang area and are, therefore, subject to violence by rival gangs. Joining guarantees support in case of attack and retaliation for transgressions.
* Fellowship and Brotherhood - To the majority of gang members, the gang functions as an extension of the family and may provide companionship lacking in the gang member’s home environment. Many older brothers and relatives belong, or have belonged to the gang.
* Intimidation - Some members are forced to join if their membership will contribute to the gang’s criminal activity. Some join to intimidate others in the community not involved in gang activity.
* Criminal Activity - Some join a gang to engage in narcotics activity and benefit from the group’s profits and protection. (Why young people join gangs, n.d.)
The research by Dukes et.al also states “Lower self-esteem, perceived academic ability, psychosocial health, and bonds with institutions appeared to precede gang membership (selection model)” (Dukes, Martinez, & Stein, 1997). Gangs seem to fullfill some needs that youth can’t achieve outside gangs. Since all research shows that gang members have low self esteem we can conclde that in long run gangs do not raise self esteem.
Being in a gang requires that members do their assigned duty. Even though Egley et al (2014) depicts that gangs in general do not have strong organization ,still there are roles within gangs like: leader,look out,dealer. Gang members have statuses and there are role expectations attached to the status even though gangs difer from one another(Carlie, 2002). Gang members in order to get in a gang they have to perform a crime. Carlie(2002) states “Frustration resulting from a lack of opportunity for meaningful employment, poor quality schools, failing public services, incompetent parents, and discrimination from the larger society could drive someone to violence - against oneself (i.e., substance abuse, self-mutilation, suicide) or against others. In addition, anger resulting from child abuse and poor role modeling often leads to violence against oneself and others”. The violence that gang members are involved is with others gangs and within a gang.
Most of gang members are adolescents. Human development is not completed in adolescence so behavior that is associated in adolescence can have important consequences for transition in adulthood. Human development moves though different trajectories as we age. Trajectories of antisocial behavior such as gangs, can influence negatively pro-social trajectories like school, work, and family formation...