Gangs are very dangerous to everyone in society. “Gangs are groups of people (mostly young males) who band together for protection and a sense of belonging. The U.S. Department of Justice officially defines a youth gang as a group of young people involved in criminal activity” (Gangs 1). About one million gang members are in more than 20,000 criminally active gangs in the United States. Also, that group of about one million people is accountable for up to eighty percent of our nation’s crimes. Since 2005, gangs have nationally added about 200,000 members to the already high total (Targeting Gangs 1). This is why more action from the community needs to be taken to help with the growing gang-related crimes here in America.
Additionally, what kinds of people are in gangs? To begin with, Latinos make up forty-nine percent of gang member population; African-Americans, thirty-four percent; White, ten percent; Asian, six percent; and the other one percent is just the “other” category (“Facts About Gangs” 109). Also in 1996, the National Youth Gang Survey stated that members of gangs were fifty percent adolescents (under eighteen years of age) and fifty percent were adults (eighteen or older). In that survey during 2006, the number of juveniles dropped to only being thirty-six and one half percent of members, on the other hand, the percentage of adult gang members consisted of sixty-three and one half percent of the gang population (Gangs 1-2). Gang members wear similar types of clothing; which is a T-shirt, tennis shoes, and either nicely creased blue jeans or khaki Dickies (baggy men's pants or shorts). Also a member usually has a patterned bandana hanging out of his back pocket; also around his pants is a cloth belt that almost reaches his knees. A lot of gang members wear crosses or rosaries around their neck. At least one item of clothing a gang member is wearing will be a color that represents his or her gang. Another item that a lot of gang members have is at least one tattoo that shows his or her dedication to his or her gang. Most gangs initiate their new member by giving them a tattoo that all other gang members will recognize for that particular gang.
The effects that gangs have on communities are massive, especially since gangs contribute to about eighty percent of our nation's crimes. Gangs tear apart communities and disrupt schools. This is due to violence, carrying weapons, drug use or distributing drugs, and even their clothing. Communities are affected because gangs influence their members and other people into using or distributing all different types of drugs. Not only drugs, but the easy access to deadly firearms makes gangs much more intimidating and dangerous to our society. Not only the inner city has gangs, they can also be found in the suburbs and rural areas as well.
Different reasons account for why young people join gangs in the beginning. Some reasons would include a very unstable home or family life, the need for...