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Why Young People Join Gangs Essay

916 words - 4 pages

There are various reasons behind young people joining street gangs.

One of the reasons young people join street gangs is because of neighborhood disadvantages. A theory that can contribute to why young people might join street gangs is Social Disorganization Theory. Social Disorganization theory assumes that “delinquency emerges in neighborhoods where neighborhood relation and social institutions have broken down and can no longer maintain effective social controls (Bell, 2007).” Social Disorganization contributes to residential instability and poverty, which affects interpersonal relationships within the community and opens opportunities for crimes to be committed. The break down of neighborhood relation and social institutions create a higher likely hood that young people will affiliate with deviant peers and get involved in gangs. When there is lack of social controls within a neighborhood the opportunity to commit deviance increases and the exposure to deviant groups such as street gangs increase. Which causes an increase in the chances of young people joining street gangs. If social controls are strong remain strong within a neighborhood and/or community the chances of young people committing crime and joining gangs decreases.
Many young people join street gangs due to weak family relationships and poor social control. Social Control Theory presumes that people will naturally commit crime if there were left to their own devices (i.e. no laws in society) and people do not commit crimes because of certain controlling forces, such as social bonds that hold individuals back partaking on their anti social behavior (Bell, 2011). Examples of controlling forces are family, school, peers, and the law. Young people who are tightly bonded family, school, and peer have lower chances of being deviant. Thus, young people who have strong attachment to family, are supervised by parents, and/or feel a sense of belonging, are less likely to join gangs. Compared to young people who deal with family issues such as a feeling neglected, having a lack of super vision, and/or have family members who deal with an alcohol or drug addiction (Bell, 2011). By joining a gang young people are able to obtain a sense of belonging, feel important, and seek family support.
Another reasons that contribute to young people joining street gangs are because they are unable to achieve the socially prescribed goal of becoming successful and wealthy. Young people who are deviant and join street gangs more often than not tend to be from lower class families. Anomie theory of deviance explains, “Deviance is an adaption of socially prescribed goals or of the norms governing their attainment, or both (Shaefer and Haaland, 2011, p. 154).” Young people who are lower class usually do not get the same opportunities as upper class people to achieve the socially prescribed goal of becoming...

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