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The aspect of crime and violence in the American society has raised concern over the last decade (Lauger, 2012). The escalating rate of gang formation has been associated with the increased violence and crime rate. The foundation of gang formation is youth gang. According to research by Sheldon et al. (2003), most of the people within the gangs joined at youth stages. Although the policing sector is in the urge to curb criminality, the aspect of gang formation seems to the undermining factor. As the gangsters are detained within the bars, the youth rate of joining and operating the gangs has escalated, making it a challenge to fully uproot the gang from the society. The issue of youth gang has raised concern, with most researchers been unable to define its perimeters.
The element of youth gang is propagated by the gang culture. According to research related to policing, America has over 33,000 operational gangs (Lauger, 2012). These range from street gangs, prison, motorcycle and street-based gangs. Although people perceive gangs to comprise of the informal groups within the society, a study on the gang culture explains otherwise. The current system of gag formation is never comprised of anti-social losers, but formal and organized individuals. These gangs are financed to facilitate paid murder, drug and human trafficking among other criminal activities (Lauger, 2012). Major gangs such as Crips, Blood, King Master, and Dead Rabbits among others operate as business entities, comprising of organized management of elite Americans. Although the federal and local government has been in front line to fight the formation of gangs and activities undertaken by these gangs, gangs seem to be part of the American culture. In rare cases, the members of the gangs are caught.
The controversial part of the law is how these gangs have control even in the prisons. Mexican mafia is a gang well known to operate even behind the bars. Members of the gang enjoy security, recognition and even protection after engaging in criminal activities. The gangsters enjoy royal status financed by money laundry among other criminal activities such as drug and human trafficking. The ‘prosperity’ of these gangs and the laxity of the law to combat gang violence and crime has developed gang culture, which attracts youth to form their own gangs, anticipating to enjoy similar privileges to those enjoyed by the large gangs.
Besides the gang culture, most American youths join the gangs because of institution failure. A number of Americas have limited access to economic and social opportunities. Although America is rated among the developed nations, lack of employment opportunities has been a threat especially among the youth in various states. The inability of the society to cater for its people has forced jobless youth to form gangs and undertake criminal activities to sustain their life. Most of the youths joining the youth gangs are jobless. The disintegration of families has raised the number of street children within the nation. The street children form the gangs for self-defense. They end up engaging in criminal acts. Failure in education is perceived as social rejection among the youth, who end up joining gangs due to frustration and lack of alternatives.
A number of America youth join the youth gangs out of influence by their peers. Education systems and social forums create interaction platforms. The social media has enhanced the exchange of information and interaction among the teens. This has facilitated interaction among the youth, where the innocent are influenced by their peers to join the youth gangs. Most of the youth gangs begin as social identities; formed by a particular group of people. The fact that someone belongs to that group e.g. – México American, they stand high chances of joining the gang as a way of guarding their identity
According to Lauger, (2012), living in the neighborhood where these gangs are operating increases the chances of teens joining the youth gangs. Apart from undertaking minor crimes such as pickpocketing, the young teens intimidate their fellows who are not part of these groups through chanting, bullying and beating among other mistreatments. As a way of avoiding these intimidations, the teenagers end up joining these groups. Joining of the youth gangs is a way of avoiding harassment and violence.
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