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Gang Violence Essay

1324 words - 6 pages

Many American families share similar stories of their loved ones being murdered by violent street gang members. These victims often had nothing to do with the gangs or gang members that killed them. A street gang is a group of people who commonly involve themselves in heinous crimes such as murder, assault, drug dealing, robbery, and car theft. These gangs are present all over the nation and are starting to spread to other countries. It is imperative for the United States government to put a stop to gangs and gang violence.
Ed Gottesman and Richard Brown agree that for a group to be considered a gang it needs six key elements: “a collection of individuals, the use of symbols, special forms ...view middle of the document...

African-Americans formed groups to provide protection from the white gangs. The African-American gangs were abundant in high-rise apartment buildings and segregated communities. Dr. Daniel Monti, the Professor of Sociology at Saint Louis University explains this by stating, “High-rise public housing provided gangs with cohesion because it was an identifiable and secure home base.” The high-rises helped to lessen the gang violence in New York in the 50s but gang violence continued to persist elsewhere in the U.S.
In Chicago in the 1960s, 51 high rise apartments were built creating a black ghetto on the west side of town. The apartment complexes eventually became battlegrounds for black gangs. Due to their close proximities, the high-rises caused opposing gangs to come into contact with each other on a daily basis. This caused the gangs to grow in strength inside the buildings and there were even some times where the gangs took over the high-rises turning them into fortresses.
From 1940 to the 70s, between ten to fifteen million Mexicans migrated to the United States. With many of the Mexicans settling in Los Angeles, it soon became the “Latino capital of the nation” having more people of Mexican heritage than many of Mexico’s cities. Along with the Mexicans, many African-Americans migrated to Los Angeles who helped out with the gang formations. Racial violence fueled the formation of African-American street gangs in Los Angeles for protection against violent white gangs. These gangs also offer “cool worlds of street socialization for poor young newcomers from rural Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.” These gangs and youth groups started trying to create new identities and thus, the Crips and Bloods formed. These two gangs started to mark their turf through graffiti and they marked represented their gangs by the clothes they wore. The Crips wore blue clothes and the Bloods wore red. With these new gangs, 19 out of 20 cities with 100,000 people or more had gang problems.
In the East from the 1990s to now, gangs have grown out of control. In 2008, there were about 640 gangs with 17,250 or more active members. James Howell and John Moore, the writers of “The History of Street Gangs in the United States” for the National Gang Center Bulletin state, “Most of the gang growth in this region has been in the 222 Corridor – so named because the Pennsylvania Route 222 bisects five cities. The reason behind the gang growth in the 222 Corridor is, as the Easton Gang Prevention Task Force would put it, “Violent gang members from metropolitan areas such as New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, and Baltimore travel through the 222 Corridor using the smaller urban communities as part of their drug distribution networks.” In addition to gang growth, gang violence has increased due to the formation of new gangs such as the...

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