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Contemporary Issues In Youth Gangs Essay

1236 words - 5 pages

Week 3 Contemporary Issues in Youth Gangs
University of Phoenix
Barbara Langley
August 25, 2008

There have been gangs in the United States, dating back to the eighteenth century. Gangs started to grow and become more involved in drug activity in the mid-1900.
“In the early part of the century gang members were mostly second-generation white Immigrants from Eastern Europe. Africa –Americans who had recently immigrated to northern cities were also involved in gang activity. A 1992 gang migration study of 1,100 cities found most youth gangs are homegrown. A recent law enforcement analysis found that 48% of gang members are black, 43% are Hispanic 4% are Asian, and 5% ...view middle of the document...

They know these young people face less serious consequences and no real serious jail time (Howell & Egley 2007). “There is no question that youth gangs are very active in the drug trade. The most common myth is the relationships between youth gangs, drug trafficking and violence are often sensationalized” (Klein, 1995).
Youth gang involvement among girls is a growing problem. Girls are becoming a more violent segment of our society, and the juvenile justice system has little to offer girls. Most programs and rehabilitation services are aimed at the male population. “Gender mixed gangs are also more common now that in the past” (Egley, 2006). “There is growing research that shows the gender composition of the gang is associated with gang delinquency rates. Females in all or majority female gangs exhibited the lowest delinquency rates, and males and females in majority male gangs exhibited the highest delinquency rates, this also includes higher rates than males in all male gangs” (Peterson, Miller, and Esbensen, 2001).
Law enforcement need to assess the gang problem they have in their communities. The gangs have a tendency to grow into well-formed organization if not addressed. They also have the tendency to grow in violence and drug trafficking, which can cause a public concern. Law enforcement needs to be aware of newcomers in the community that are coming from other areas. “Assessing a communities youth gang problem can be a complex and politically sensitive issue” (Scott, 2000).
Law enforcement must take a big role in dealing with youth gangs. Most programs that law enforcement use in dealing with youth gangs is suppression. The officers need to protect areas where the community members are threatened by gang members or their activities. “Law enforcement‘s role in gang suppression is that they are the coordinator, recorder, and monitor. This agency can record the actions taken for future review and also monitoring the results so that problems do not recur” (Scott, 2000).
The prosecutor’s office is another source for the fight against youth gangs. “Their primary role is prosecution and convictions plus incarceration of youthful offenders” (Scott, 2000). Prosecutors have begun to recognize and be more aware of the youth gang problem and have begun to specialize in this type of prosecution. “The prosecutor’s office can be very beneficial in researching and proposing new or enhanced laws directed toward youth gang activity” (Scott, 2000). Many jurisdictions are proposing legislation that targets certain gang behaviors, such as stronger weapons laws and laws that target graffiti (Scott, 2000). In Pitt County in Greenville North Carolina where the gang...

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