Gang Influence Essay

2213 words - 9 pages

Our society has many problems. A major problem that we have been facing for many years and will continue to face is the threat of gangs in our schools. A gang is defined as a group of criminals or hoodlums who band together for mutual protection and profit (answers.com "gangs"). Most gangs are defined as adolescents who are frequently involved in illegal activities (National School Safety and Security Services [NSSASS], schoolsecurity.org). Gangs are a major problem because they promote violence. Schools are less safe because of the presence of gangs, vandalism increases, and students can't learn because they are too busy trying to stay away from gangs or are trying to join a gang. Some kids want to join while others are trying to stay safe.A major quality of life issue is the issue of teenagers being influence by others to join gangs. This is a major quality of life issue because schools that have gangs in attendance are a very bad influence to other students who may be considered potential gang members. Another negative effect of youth gang violence in our society leads young children to crime and turns them into criminals spending most of their life time in prisons. A major impact of gang presence in schools is that students are afraid to go to school (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/crime_safe04/indicator_15.asp). A survey done by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2004 shows about four percent of the surveyed students also reported avoiding certain places in school because gang members often hung out at these locations (NCES, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/crime_safe04/indicator_15.asp).Another survey done by National Youth Gang in 2000 shows that about 24,500 gangs, and 772,500 gang members were active in the United States in the year 2000 (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention). The same survey shows that about 16% of youth gang members were under the age of 15; 34% were between the ages of 15 and 17; 37% were between the ages of 18 and 24; and 13% were older than the age of 24. This shows that gangs don't target a certain age group but instead go after anyone who is willing to join. It also proves that most people joining were in their teens concluding that gangs starting out in high school. Most gangs start in large cities where the population is very high. When an area is very populated, it provides more victims for gangs to terrorize (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, http://www.ncjrs.gov/ pdffiles1/ojjdp/fs200204.pdf).The problem with statistics on gangs is that the government never knows the exact amount of gang members in the country. The basic research on gangs comes from gang members arrested for any illegal acts they may have taken part in such as during initiations. The rest of the gangs are just rumored or estimated by according to the crime rates in a certain city or neighborhood...

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