Youth Gangs, Drugs, & Violence Essay

2306 words - 9 pages

Gang involvement and its associated violent crime have become a rapidly growing problem for the United States. Generally, gangs consist of young people of the same ethnic, racial, and economic background. Usually of a low socio-economic status, these gangs engage in illegal money making activities and intimidate their neighborhoods and rival gangs with violent crimes and victimization. Gang members exemplify a high value for group loyalty and sacrifice.

Gangs often target youth when recruiting new members, with the average age of initiation being 13 years old (Omizo, Omizo, and Honda). A personal interview with police gang specialist, Rob Geis, revealed that the rapid growth of gangs is resulting in recruitment at shockingly young ages. The youth are easily enticed by gangs for a number of reasons. Availability of guns and drugs, a lack of education and good parenting, and economic and financial status all contribute to the problem of youth gang involvement (Rob Geis, Personal Interview). Youth begin to realize if they have a low socioeconomic status, and feel pressured to find a way to better their economic situations. Gangs offer a solution to economic stress. Immigrants who come to America to make money to send back to family members “often cannot find work, and exhausted, they realize the easiest thing to do is to sell drugs” (Bazan, Harris, and Lorentzen 380). Drug sales often occur in areas of gang activity. In order to participate in drug sales, it is necessary to join the gang that controls the area. This way an individual’s protection and safety ensured. Familial dissention is another reason some adolescents turn to gangs. They are in search of an escape, and sense of family. Bazan, Harris and Lorentzen interviewed ex gang member Susanna who explains, “for years the gang was her ‘real’ family, given the disintegration and lack of stability she found in her loosely biological family” (Bazan, Harris, and Lorentzen 380). Power seekers are also drawn to gang life, which tend to commit crimes that victimize others. One ex-gang member, Lupita explains that she “liked belonging to a gang because people recognized her power and they respected her” (Bazan, Harris, and Lorentzen 380). Gang members use deceptive tactics to prey on the youth by promising protection, acceptance, power, and material wealth. Joining a gang seems to be the best option for disadvantaged youth because it gives them what they are longing for. However, this comes at a price.
Gang involvement negatively affects the quality of life of the involved youth and surrounding communities. The criminal activities and violence surrounding gang membership often lead to imprisonment and/or death. Gang involvement discourages personal upward mobility through the avenue of education; instead, placing importance on group success.

Although non-gang members may also participate in risky activities like binge drinking, marijuana use, and drug selling, gang affiliation greatly...

Find Another Essay On Youth Gangs, Drugs, & Violence

Juvenile Gangs Essay

1288 words - 5 pages resort of earning money is joining a gang that is highly involved in drug trades. (Lees 2000) These gangs are trafficking large amounts of illegal drugs and are making extreme amounts of money. Juveniles thrive off having nice things and flashing large amounts of money around. They are blinded by the notion of easy money and don't see or don't care about the risks or violence involved.Usually with poverty also comes a large lack of a support network

Canadian Gangs Essay

1343 words - 5 pages Statistics Canada has done research on identifying the facts that are contributed to the definition of a youth gang member. Partnered with the Montreal Police Service, Statistics Canada was able to generate the definition of a gang member: "An organized group of adolescents and/or young adults who rely on group intimidation and violence, and commit criminal acts in order to gain power and recognition and/or control certain areas of unlawful

Youth Participation In Gangs

1262 words - 5 pages & Howell P2). To fully understand why the level of violence is so high amongst youth gangs, we must first understand what factors can be associated with joining a gang. According to Sue Titus Reid, “poverty, unstable living conditions, the availability of drugs and alcohol, parents who tolerate or commit violence, falling behind or failing in school, and ‘hanging out’ with delinquents” (Reid, 2008, p.375) are all factors that can contribute to

Youth Violence

1032 words - 5 pages History/ Background Canada’s history of violence has influenced the acts of youth we see today. The first youth gang recorded in history was discovered before World War II. However, these gangs that were seen in the past lacked a criminal element contrasting what we see in today’s gangs (Tunstall, 2009, pg 1). The history of youth violence in the United States was superior to and more violent than it was in Canada at the time, however, trends

Gang influence

2213 words - 9 pages schools that have gangs in attendance are a very bad influence to other students who may be considered potential gang members. Another negative effect of youth gang violence in our society leads young children to crime and turns them into criminals spending most of their life time in prisons. A major impact of gang presence in schools is that students are afraid to go to school (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES],

An Understanding of Various Sources That Explain why Youth Join Gangs

1049 words - 5 pages & Society 14:281-300. Lachman, Pamela, Caterina G. Roman, and Meagan Cahill. 2013. "Assessing Youth Motivations for Joining a Peer Group as Risk Factors for Delinquent and Gang Behaviour." Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice 11:212-229. Maclure, Richard, and Melvin Sotelo. 2004. "Youth Gangs in Nicaragua: Gang Membership as Structured Individualization." Journal of Youth Studies 7:417-432. Yoder, Kevin A., Les B. Whitbeck, and Dan R. Hoyt. 2003. "Gang Involvement and Membership Among Homeless and Runaway Youth." Youth & Society 34:441-467.

Youth Violence

1548 words - 7 pages risk for violence if they have been a victim or an observer of violence in their past. Violence may also develop if the child has a mental disability, a low intelligence level or is extremely introverted (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). Peers and the community also have a large impact on children. A youth is at risk if they are socializing with gangs or delinquents who are involved with drugs or alcohol and who do not do well

Earliest Signs of Gang Activities

860 words - 4 pages programs exist to help prevent the spread of gang influences to the youth or help those in distress. One such organization, the CASASTART, meaning Striving Together To Achieve Rewarding Tomorrows, is aimed at helping 11 to 13 year old distressed neighbouring kids. The presence of gangs strongly increases the likelihood of violence, guns, and drugs on school grounds ( Pesce and Wilczynski, 2005). The most effective programs in helping the youth again

Policing Gangs in Society

2220 words - 9 pages Policing Gangs in Today's SocietyGang violence has posed a major problem for law enforcement in the last twenty years. Although overall homicide rates in the United States have declined between the 1980's and the 1990's, youth homicide rates, particularly incidents involving firearms have increased dramatically. In the past, the police would assign responsibility for gang control to units such as patrol, juvenile bureaus, community relations

Gangs: Down in the Hood

865 words - 4 pages of the Police for as long as anyone can remember due to their failure to follow the laws and social standards that have been set. Many times the police will conduct a citywide or even statewide gang raids which a lot of times they arrest and seize drugs. (Hile #38) A problem with imprisoning gang members is that it takes men off the streets, some are fathers and this will break up homes, causing the youth to look for a male role model and

Tha screets 4-life

1633 words - 7 pages . Gangs are only young black males that sell drugs in their neighborhood and commit violent acts (Roth 698). False there are so many different types of gangs. The Vietnamese, Chinese, Asian, Laotian, Cambodian, and yes the whites all have gangs that are related to one another. Not all do violent things like shooting and killing. There are female gangs that do prostitution and others that gamble all the time. Minority of the youth that commit a crime

Similar Essays

Gang Violence Essay

1317 words - 5 pages addition, if these youth can find things that generate yearning inside of them it can put them back on pathway to prosperity. Furthermore if the stoppage of drugs in youth gangs can be accomplished their judgment when making decisions will not be affected. This will allow the teen to see that gangs and violence isn’t the clarification to their problems. In order for alteration and realization they must see people who make the atmosphere around them

Youth Gangs An Overview Essay

2271 words - 9 pages around the early 1980's, the relationship between violence and youth gangs went generally unnoticed. The concern here was that the outward results were usually confined to youth gang members and isolated communities. The incidents where drugs and violence were connected to youth gangs stemmed mainly from territorial fights among organized crime groups. The youth just happened to be the "tools" used in the enforcement and intimidation trade of drug

Gangs And Teenage Violence Essay

2040 words - 8 pages ''. Newsweek 6, April, 1998: 24-26 Devore, Cynthia DiLaura MD. Kids + Gangs. MI: Abbot Dauhters,1994. Dolan, F. Edward Jr. and Shan Finney. Youth Gangs.NY: Julin Messner, 1984. Gibbs,Nancy and Timothy Roche. ''The Columbine Tapes'' Time 20 Dec,1999:40-51 Labi, Nadya. ''The Hunter and the Choir Boy'' Time 6 April1998:28-37 Zeinhart, Karen. Victims of Teen Violence. NJ: Enslow Publishers Inc., 1996.

Gang Violence Essay

1324 words - 6 pages than many of Mexico’s cities. Along with the Mexicans, many African-Americans migrated to Los Angeles who helped out with the gang formations. Racial violence fueled the formation of African-American street gangs in Los Angeles for protection against violent white gangs. These gangs also offer “cool worlds of street socialization for poor young newcomers from rural Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.” These gangs and youth groups started trying