Youth Gangs Essay

1956 words - 8 pages

Throughout Canada, the issues surrounding Youth Gangs has become a major issue not only for members of authority, but for the justice system. Youth gang activity, which can be defined when there is direct or indirect involvement in gang related crime or incidents, occurs in almost every province or territory in Canada, mostly in urban areas, but is increasing in other areas. In Canada, there are 434 youth gangs with about 7 000 members in total (in class notes). Not only do youth gangs exist in Canada, they exist in other countries around the world. There is some controversy defining the term “youth gang”, but there is a general definition to the term. A youth gang can be ...view middle of the document...

This factor argues that the youth is surrounded with negative social relationships as well negative characteristics of their neighborhood or community. Other aspects of this factor include poverty, the struggle for class or socio-economic power, the easy asses to drugs or guns, limited social opportunities, and norms that promote gang activity or behaviour (textbook). A youth who frequently experiences or witnesses drug abuse or gang activity may start to look up to the gang lifestyle and will feel the need to be involved. A youth who feels unsafe in their community or neighborhood may join a gang in order to feel a sense of security. Another factor that influences a youth to join a gang is family conditions. Since family is one of the agents of socialization, it is important for a youth to be able to look up to their family and have positive relationships. If a youth is deprived from this, there is a chance they will act out. A youth who has parents or family members that make them feel unprotected or distrusted are more likely to be involved in a gang. The youth may feel that they are lacking something and a gang may provide what their family is not. A youth who has an unstable family can become involved as well as a youth who lack parental role model, have parents with violent attitudes, and parents who are involved in criminal activities. Youth can be influenced who they are surrounded with, and if there family is negative and involved in crime and gangs, they may be at risk for being involved as well. Siblings can also influence or put a youth at risk for involvement. The youth may feel the need to carry on the gang tradition which results in them becoming affiliated with a gang a family member is already involved in or a different one.
Peer pressure is another factor that influences youth to become affiliated within a gang. If a youth has another friend who part of a gang, they are likely to become involved. The youth may feel intimated by the friend/friends or may feel pressure to join in order to stay friends with that person. The friend that is already in the gang, may use threats or even persuasion to get the friend involved which is why peer pressure is a risk factor. Youth who also experience poor school achievement throughout their schooling are at risk for becoming involved in youth gang activity or crime. The youth may always be absent for class, cannot perform scholastically well, or can be viewed negatively by their teachers, principals, and other staff members. Also, relating to school, the youth may have few teachers role models to look up to. If all of the staff have negative views on the youth, the youth will feel that they have no one to look up to and no one to make them feel positive, which is why they may become involved in a youth gang.
There are individual factors that influence or put a youth at risk for gang affiliation. Some of these include signs of aggression, being abuse in their passed (physically,...

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