Possible Solutions to the Youth Violence Problem
The birds are chirping, the sun is beaming down through the clouds, and you can hear the shrieks of excitement from the neighborhood park. Walking down the street, you envision raising your family on this picture-perfect street. As the vision becomes more and more detailed, however, the shot of a gun rings out from the distance. You duck behind a parked car, wondering where the bullet came from and why. Looking around, you are shocked to see a group of adolescents standing around another child, this one laying lifeless on the ground. As you rush over to help, the group scatters, and you notice all are wearing the same sign on their beanie hats. Looking down at the body, you see that there are no shoes to be had on his feet, although there are socks. When the police arrive, it is explained to you that this was an act of youth violence, and one that is common in that part of town. A child was shot to death for wearing a pair of shoes that a member of a street gang desired.
This probably does not sound like your street where you live. It does not, however, mean that there are not places out in the world where this is an everyday occurrence. Youth are subjected daily to pressures from their peers, and sometimes these peers might be ones with a stronger temper. Programs have been implemented to help youth who become part of gangs or other types of violence, but have they been enough? One needs to search deeper to determine the causes, but it is the solutions to the problem that is, in the end, of most importance.
On a local scene, the Corpus Christi Police Department has a gang prevention program. This program has a presentation in which members of the police department discuss “levels of gang membership, at-risk characteristics, gang dress codes, recognition of possible pre-gang behavior, gang signs and symbols, prevention, and intervention” (CCPD). However, this program seems to be more geared at recognizing whether or not a youth is a member of a gang, and only mentions “recognition of possible pre-gang behavior.” This does not seem to be very encouraging, as by the time parents and educators are looking into prevention it is already too late for the child. Another local program is the Family Place program, located at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. The series of seminars discuss various issues ranging from divorce, sexuality, and homework, and also include ways to curb violence and aggressive behavior. This program is aimed towards parents, and provides an outside source to help enhance personal and physiological development within the community, striving to make the community a better place to live.
Texas is a state that is known for its harsh punishment of criminals, especially towards those convicted of murder and the usage of the controversial subject, the death penalty. However, Texas has many programs that are intended for positive outcomes when...