US gang violence continues to be one of the most significant social issues facing law enforcement agencies across America. Figures from the FBI show that there are 27,900 gangs in towns and cities across the States, with around 774,000 people identifying themselves as gang members. The most notorious gang activities continue to thrive in cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and Washington. However, crime statistics reveal that gangs are spreading inexorably to other rural and suburban areas. Why the sudden relocation? Gang members run to these areas to escape increased police presence or crackdowns on their traditional turf. Lets learn some facts about gang violence in America from this article, so you will be ready to write your essay about it in a seconds.
Violence is the norm for all gangs. Gang leaders often use the threat of violence to ensure that members stick to the gang's code of conduct or to stop a member from leaving. As gangs indulge in large-scale criminal activities such as drug dealing and distribution, extortion, burglary, prostitution, and weapons trafficking, they use extreme violence to control and expand their criminal empires.
Schools are not immune from gang influence and violence. The LA-based Crips are one of the largest and most violent of all US gangs. The Crips are said to have more than 35,000 members in 800 gangs across 30 states and 120 cities in the US. In 2012, it was revealed that the Crips had actually infiltrated high schools across the nation by recruiting students for prostitution. Its high school prostitution ring involved approaching vulnerable teenage girls with the promise of earning big money, putting them to work as prostitutes, and getting them addicted to drugs. Most of the girls involved were 15 or 16 years old.
Gangs typically recruit their newest and youngest members before they enter high school when adolescents are at their most impressionable and vulnerable. Drugs are often the enticement to encourage their involvement. The last nationwide survey of high school students in the US to ask about gang activity was in 2001. At this time, it was reported that 7.6% of male respondents and 3.8% of female respondents in the 1300 schools that participated reported that they were in a gang. This figure is estimated to have increased.
Preventative programs and measures are in force in most states and cities to curb the spread and influence of gangs and gang violence in high schools. One such program is the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. This is a community-based program to combat delinquency and gang initiation by targeting kids aged 6-18 living in high-risk gang areas. The program is also a resource for those children who are already involved in gangs. It directs participants to more positive activities and assigns them with a mentor, often a former gang member who has turned their life around, to provide much-needed guidance. In Los Angeles, teachers are trained in specific techniques to deal with gang behavior and drug prevention. Additionally, initiatives involving the wider community have proved popular and effective in both California and Illinois.
Gang violence in the US continues to be a growing problem. However, the real scope of the problem is the damage it does to individuals and communities. The good news is that steps are continually being taken to reduce the problem across the nation.
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Jessie from San Diego, CA
on December 2013