Coming to a Neighborhood Near You!
Nakia C. Shepperson
31 Easton Way Hainesport NJ, 08036 Gangs SOC-384
Table of Contents
Statement of the Problem 4
Gang Formation 5
Types of Gangs 9
Response to the Problem 12
There is no doubt that the United States has witness a significant growth in youth gangs in the last quarter of the 20th century (Miller, 2001). In the 1970’s, 19 states reported having gang problems by the late 1990’s that number grew to include 50 states plus the District of Columbia (Miller, 2001). Gang problems clearly are no longer confined to large cities, what used to seem like an inner city problem has infiltrated its way into America’s suburbs and into the vast farmlands of the country’s rural communities. There is no longer a classic type of gang member, gangs have now reached all races and ethnicities, they no longer consist of only one social economical level but have reached every level and are no longer gender specific. In communities where gangs exists there exists fear in its residents, today’s youth gangs represent a serious threat to their communities by engaging in activities such as assault, home invasion, vehicle theft, vandalism, intimidation as well as drug trafficking (Anderson, Dyson, & Lee, 1996). It is unclear as to what if any single cause was the reason for the increase in gang activity. It is more plausible to assume that a number of interacting factors have combined to influence this recent growth trend. Miller’s (2001) report on the Growth of Youth Gang Problems in the United States contributes seven factors that have been analyzed as being possible contributors to the increasing rates of youth gang growth; drugs, immigration, gang names, migration, governmental policies, female-headed households and gang subculture and the media. In this paper, I will attempt to discuss why gangs are formed, how they impact the community and what programs and/or policies are being implemented to respond to the US gang problem. I will conclude this paper with my personal opinions about what programs can be pursued to help communities with gang activity.
Statement of the Problem
Contrary to popular belief gangs have been around in the United States for decades. The earliest record of gang formation in the United States may have been as early as 1783 when the American Revolution ended (Howell, 1998). Gangs spread into larger cities such as New York, Boston and Philadelphia when the Industrial Revolution gained popularity, as the industrial era took shape with population increases and new immigrants into the United States, gangs began to also be seen in Chicago and other large cities throughout the United States (Schmalleger, 2001). Early gang formation served to provide members a sense of personal identity, arising as a response to local patterns of immigration, central city structure, culture clash and...