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Street Gangs. This essay will discuss the response to street gangs within the United States of America. I will define a street gang; how street gangs are formed, and what they consist of. This essay will discuss theories such as; Cohens (1955)

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Introduction

This essay will discuss the response to street gangs within the United States of America. I will define a 'street gang'; how street gangs are formed, and what they consist of. This essay will discuss theories such as; Cohen's (1955) Strain Theory and Differential Opportunity. Finally, l will attempt to assess the responses of prevention, intervention and suppression. The question of what constitutes a 'street gang' is debatable, as it is suggested there is no single accepted definition of youth gangs. Street gangs existence centers on the street or locality and whose membership is youthful, and may be believed that these types of street gangs are associations of peers and friends who have mutual interests and most of all is definitely associated with crime. A well known example of two particular street gangs within the US would be the infamous Cripps and Bloods of Los Angeles which actually comprise about one hundred sets of groups often named after the Main Street of their area (Bing, 1992, cited in Cremin, 2009). In the 1920s it was estimated by Thrasher that there was around 1,313 gangs in Chicago alone. Thrasher's (1936) study was the first to look at group's processes and psychology of gang life. Through his study of 1,313 Chicago gangs, he concluded gangs are parts of the psychology and group process of teenagers in economically deprived communities. ...read more.

Middle

Huff (2002), illustrates that one choice concentrating on responses, for resource expenditures of punishment and incapacitation for criminal behavior, is delivered after it has occurred. Although by then, the offender has already been transformed into a criminal, thus damaging his or her life chances and by then, those individuals are then victims whose victimization might have been prevented. It may be suggested that, within most policies of the American justice system does not help within the deterrence of preventing criminal behavior, which adversely creates cities to conform to experience a social breakdown within traditional family values among society. This affect causes the absence of social control over young people and affects communities, which therefore limits potential opportunities for individuals to progress within jobs and education, which may explain a young person development which gives reasons to becoming a gang member (Coleman, 2000) Peterson (2004) argues, most research into street gangs need to be used to inform and if possible to have some form of 'effect' within criminal justice policy. As most policies are infrequently practiced and are the most undeveloped by the people that are most affected. The rationale for gang related prevention would provide effective programs that act as deterrence towards individuals who would become involved in gang related crime. For example, a Los Angeles program which is delivered by specially trained police officers namely- GREAT (Gang Resistance, Education and Training) ...read more.

Conclusion

To conclude, it is suggested that there are three ways of intervening in gang life, the emphasis has been on suppression, the criticism may be seen as a cure to make matters worse, made matters worse by alienated communities and individuals and actually imbedded gangs rather than getting rid of them. Similarly, gang suppression intervention is only dealt with the problem of gangs once they formed and they continue to form, by doing little in helping any of the social problems in America which are mentioned. The need for structure, nurturing, and a sense of belonging and perceived economic opportunity create breeding grounds for gangs. However, street gangs may be seen as hanging around, but have some kind of organization and may have some relative of age, race and gender. Social circumstances within unsettled neighborhoods explain that there is likely to be gangs of youths, coming together to seek the security, sense of belonging and structure they lack in their communities. Perhaps a need for the US agencies to develop strong relationships among youths in order for any label's of street gangs to diminish. Social environmental issues are prevalent when analyzing gang behavior, therefore, the need to engage with the participants and ecological factors affecting gangs, needs to have more research data to base future policy initiatives upon. ...read more.

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