Gangs are growing at an alarming number in the America you can even go to small towns in United States of America and find some form of gang activity. “Over the past decade, annual estimates of the number of gang members have averaged around 770,000 nationally. The most recent estimate of approximately 850,000 gang members represents an 8.6 percent increase over the previous year” (‘Measuring the Extent of Gang Problems’, 2019). So why do youth join gangs? To have a sense of connection this gives them a sense or a new sense of who they are. Possibility are that they might not be comfortable with the person that they are or have become. Maybe there is another relative in the family that is associated with this organization. So, they embrace a change in lifestyle to become something that they are too gain acceptance. Peer pressure also is a motivating factor, even the need to protect their family. When becoming a product of your environment feels like it is the only option is to take the road most traveled. This results in participating in the local gang activity nowadays is a culture norm. Some risk factors that contribute to affiliating with gang membership. Breaking the law becomes part of your lifestyle.
Gang members tend to: have prior convictions as a juvenile (delinquency), possess an illegal firearm, traffic’s narcotics, and has an anti-social attitude. They desire for reward like status, identity, self-esteem, and protection. “Too little adult supervision, unstructured free time, particularly during after-school hours and on the weekends. A lack of positive roles models and exposure to media (television, movies, music) that glorifies gang violence. Sense of hopelessness about the future because of limited educational or financial opportunity” (“Gangs and Children”, 2019)
Which ethnicity is more like to engage in gang activity? Depicted in Hollywood most gangs are usually African-American, it would be fair to say that society agrees with Hollywood. What comes to mind is the colors red which refers to “Blood” gang and blue referring to “Crips” (National Youth Gang Survey Analysis, 2019). Law enforcement agencies report a greater percentage of Hispanic/Latino and African-American/black gang members compared with other race/ethnicity. The most recent figures provided by law enforcement are 46 percent Hispanic/Latino gang members, 35 percent African-American/black gang members, more than 11 percent white gang members, and 7 percent other race/ethnicity of gang members.
The violence committed by these gangs cause a great number of issues in are communities. The type of violence ranges from several things such as murder, sexual crimes, robbery, drug trafficking just to name to name a few: “A serious threat when you’re talking about homicides and the proportion, overall gangs are responsible for 16 percent of all homicides, but 25 percent in cities with a population of over 100,000” (Axelrod, 2015). Howell said: “About 85 percent of serious gang activity is concentrated in metropolitan areas in the United States.” When these youth join after being recruited, they are required to partake in a criminal lifestyle and to continue to show the loyal to the organization they must still carry out unlawful acts. Due to the alarming number of adolescences entering the gangs the organization realizes that they will prove that no matter the ask of them by any means necessary will “ride” for click. (Federal Data, “Youth.gov”, 2019) “The prevalence of youth under 18 in gangs is higher in smaller cities and rural communities where gang problems are less established, compared to larger cities”.
In conclusion, America faces a huge problem when it comes to the youth becoming members in the gangs. “Communities — not just classrooms — should be regarded as a valuable resource for reaching kids at risk of joining gangs” (‘Changing Course: Preventing Youth From Joining Gangs’, 2019). There are several ways to combat gang membership, but it takes adults caring. The youth must be active and involved in positive activities such as after school sports, clubs even employment opportunities. An active role of the parent in the youth lives makes a difference than they have some type of control over that the individual does. The problem has been identified now it’s time for adults to act by eliminating the number of youths going down the pass of a lifestyle that leads to death or prison because joining a gang.