The word gang is a broad word with many definitions. A gang is simply known as a group of people who claim a piece of territory as their “turf”. The three most common types of gangs are Ethnic Gangs, Turf Gangs, and Prison Gangs. Just for a little clarification: Ethnic gangs are gangs that define themselves by nationality or race, Turf gangs are gangs who define themselves by the territory they control, and Prison gangs are gangs that originated in prisons. Gangs are careful to identify themselves to each other and to others in their community. Members may dress similarly or wear the gang's colors. In terms of authority gangs have a very simple hierarchy or chain of command based on experience. The time you’ve spent with a gang has a direct relationship to how powerful and influential you are.
Gangs mainly start recruiting at a very early age. They tend to look at kids around the ages of 10-11 and lure them in with the money and weapons that older gang members might have. Kids tend to begin hanging around gang members, finding out who is important and learning what the gang does. Members may then take the kid in at ages as early as 15. There is usually an “Initiation” process that takes place in which the new recruit must get a tattoo or get beat up by the rest of the gang.
A big question that many adults and parents alike are still trying to answer is why kids would want to join a gang. Many of the times, the kid will be feeling unsafe and will look for protection. For many kids that might mean going to the police, but there’s always the belief that it won’t help so, instead, they turn to gangs for protection. Kids might also seek money and with drug dealing so common it’s one of the reasons why kids get lured into gangs. Gangs also try to especially train kids to sell drugs because the punishments for them, if they are caught, won’t be as severe as if an adult’s punishment. A lot of other times, a kid might just want to feel part of a group and for some kids, a gang is a way to feel that they belong or give them a sense of family. However, despite all the “perks” that gangs might look like they have, in the end it’s never worth joining.
Gangs are a daily problem in many of the run-down and low-income neighborhoods around the country. They commit crimes such as: using drugs and dealing drugs, theft and dealing in stolen property; assault and battery and serious injury to other people; threats and intimidation of others; and destroying public and private property. I want you to imagine a city. Where the buildings are covered in graffiti, where street corners are inhabited by drug dealers, where gunshots are heard daily, and where only the bravest of mothers venture outside clutching their children. This is only a small picture of what truly happens to a neighborhood when gang activities have gone too far. They bring fear and violence to neighborhoods, traffic in drugs, destroy property, involve youth in crimes and drive out businesses.
So far the social services and the police departments have been working together to limit gang activities with a diversity of tactics. So far police departments have been increasing patrols around run-down areas and enforcing the law like usual. Social services have also been trying to help gang members find a way out of the chaos, to no true avail. In addition, many schools have raised awareness about gangs and their dangers so as to try to reduce the amount of students who choose to join gangs.
It’s not about what they’re doing though; it’s about whether or not their tactics are working. Many of the police tactics are working and very effectively too, but a big downside is that it only affects a small area. The police just doesn’t have enough men or resources to patrol every single portion of the city that is crime riddled. Social services are also spreading awareness in schools, but most students never really listen and think “Oh that will never happen to me”. In truth it’s the parents who are to blame if a kid becomes a gang member and commits a crime because they should be the ones who step in and prevent the kid from joining a gang. Overall, society is on the right track to limiting and preventing gang violence, but the process still has flaws that can be corrected.