Youth Gangs Essay

824 words - 3 pages

Youth gang related crime crime has been growing for years, but little data

exists about the extent and precise nature of crimes committed by gang

members. Gangs have been said to have committed many crimes such as drug

smuggling, murder, and theft. Although many gang members have been known to

do some of these things, there is no real evidence that they are gang

related. Researchers found that the median age at which youths begin to hang

out with gangs is approximately 13 years old (Roland 26). Are gangs

responsible for the crimes that are committed, or is it just coincidence that

gang members are committing the crimes?

The research shows that gang members in each of the survey sites are much

more likely to sell drugs than nongang at risk youths (Decker 6). Of the

gang members who sell drugs, they reported doing so more frequently, having

fewer customers, making more money from the sales, and relying more on

out-of-state suppliers. The nongang youths that sold drugs didn't have such

an operation going for them. They were just petty drug dealers(Thornberry 7).

There have been numerous instances when there has been a murder and they say

that it must have been gang related. That's not entirely true or false. In

many instances the murders were not gang related just girlfriend related

(Johnson 28). There are many times when someone is killed over a girlfriend

or an argument. That doesn't mean that it was gang related at all, it just

means that a person who happens to be in a gang killed them.

On the news you have seen about break-ins and car theft. In some instances

that theft is gang related. In some cases the newer members are told to

prove themselves by breaking into a house or to steal a car. Other times the

are simply doing it for money. They might have a drug habit that they have

to support, or maybe they just need some extra cash. Whatever the reason, if

it is done by a gang member, most of the time the public thinks that it is

gang related.

For years, observers have noted that youth-gang-related crime has been

growing, but a picture of the extent and precise nature of crimes committed

by gang members is only now beginning to emerge. Are gangs really responsible

for increases in crime or are youths who grow up in very difficult

circumstances, but do not join gangs, committing just as many crimes?

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