I lived in Arizona for most of my life and I have seen a lot with the time I have been living here. I have seen many gangs from bloods, crips, MS-13, etc. We have a task force to try to prevent gangs from causing harm, but I do not think they are doing a good enough job. Gangs bring guns, violence, and drugs to communities and corrupt them. “Arizona has 35,644 number of annual violent crimes, and has a crime rate of 5.08” (Arizona Crime). Most of the crimes are property crimes which fall under vandalism. I seen much vandalism in alleys of neighborhoods and they been there for a long time to be exact. I’m now going to tell you about the gang violence situation that we have in Arizona.
“Arizona is one of the most dangerous states in the country, they are currently ranked at #9 for being the most dangerous state in the country entering 2020” (Kolmar 2019). Arizona also have gangs come from different states or countries such as Mexico’s MS-13 gang. The border is so close between Arizona and Mexico is so close that the MS-13 can bring weapons and drugs to Arizona to spread around to the people. People that haven’t been to Arizona probably think this is one of the nicest places to visit but if you live here you will know the reality of living in Arizona. The South and West side of Phoenix is probably the most dangerous places in Arizona of right now due to them having the most gangs in the state.
Historical Background of the International or Local Focus of the Issue
“Gangs in Arizona go all the way back to the 1930s, there are over 300 gangs on record in Arizona” (Epler 2019). The oldest gangs were Hispanic, they used to get together and fight other gangs. The neighborhood that I grew up in contain a lot of vandalism, that is how gangs mark their territory to let rival gangs know not to come to their hood. Most of the gangs from the 1960s are still around till this day and they are more dangerous than ever. Back in the day gangs weren’t as dangerous as they are today, back then they were known as protectors of the neighborhood against the police. There really weren’t shootings back then as gangs used to have brawls back in the day. In the past, Maryvale was one of the toughest gang areas in the state. 85 percent of the gangs were Hispanic, 10 percent was African-American, and 5 percent was white. “In 1979 the Phoenix police created the juvenile crime reduction unit for troubled youth.” In 1992, there were 918 incidents related to street gang activity just in Phoenix.
Gang Violence in Arizona is making Arizona seem like a very bad place to visit or live at. Gang Violence involves all different types of crimes such as drive-by shootings, armed robberies, home invasions, etc. Gangs try to get bigger everyday by recruiting kids and teenagers. Gangs also have a lot of influence over our youth that could lead our youth to the wrong path in life. Gangs have taken many innocent people lives and to think about it what if one of your loved one’s life was taken, you would want gangs off the earth. I want to give people in gangs something to live for besides all the negative stuff they do to get by in life. I know that they say once you get in a gang there is no way out but there is a way out, you must talk to the right people, and they will figure out a game plan. If we keep letting gangs take our youth and keep growing there may be a chance that your son or nephew may get caught up in a lifestyle that they know nothing about. I’m not trying to say all gangs are dangerous but there are some that will cause harm or try to spread something around that isn’t good for the community. Gangs tend to have an ongoing beef with each other at all times and it wouldn’t matter where they are at they will do the most at any time or any place. Many young people in today’s generation are some hotheads and will do anything to fit in, they are influenced by people who are nothing like them.
Solutions to the Problem
If we are going to stop gangs from causing violence, we must prevent our youth from joining gangs because that starts a wave and I know a lot of people will hop on from past experiences. Youth join gangs because they think they will protect them, or they just join because they are bored. To prevent the youth from joining gangs we need to inform them the risks of being in a gang, and that those risks are not worth your life. We need to get kids connected to sports, music, fun deeds, to keep them out the streets. Most kids who join gangs at a young age are either Hispanic or black. We have the task force that patrols neighborhoods that gangs are located in, but I don’t think gangs fear them. Most gang members get out of jail and do the same thing that got them locked up in the first place. So, we should create a place where people who gets locked up for gang-related crimes must go so they can get back on their feet. I can only think of the ideas to help them get out the mess they probably got into when they were younger. The older guys that be in gangs are usually old heads who just tell the young guys that are in the gang what to do, so they aren’t much of a threat to society. I don’t want gang members to get locked up or even worse killed because that’s just messed up but I feel like some people learn from their mistakes by going to jail so there are many options to redeem yourself.
I’m against gang violence totally, I just want a better life for people and don’t want them to take the easy way out or think they need a gang for protection. I don’t want my lil brother or nephews to get into that lifestyle or anyone in the next generation to fall down that path. If we want to end gang violence we have to use our voice and influence the next generation that gangs aren’t cool and there’s so much more to life. It’s alright to have a bond with your brothers just make sure that your group of friends doesn’t get you or themselves into any situations they can’t get out of. There is no problem protecting your community but once you let people start stuff or try to do too much that is how your community gets corrupted and begin to have a downfall. Remember kids to get your education, find a hobby or something and live your life to the fullest and best ability you can.