The article published in the Epoch Times, titled “23 Members of Chicago Street Gang Face Federal Charges,” tells about the members of the Goonie gang, which used lethal violence in order to instill an atmosphere of terror in its own turf in order to be able to commit crimes without retribution and engage in illegal behaviors for profit (Jasurek, 2018). These actions can be viewed and explained through the specific subset of race theory, focused specifically on culture. Black areas of all major cities in the US are notorious for having high rates of poverty and crime. This is the heritage of over 200 years of slavery, followed by segregation. Over 60% of black families are single-parent, with that parent forced to work two jobs to support their child (Friedson & Sharkey, 2015). As a result, the child cannot internalize the “decent” family values of independence, hard work, and education, instead of being raised in the “Street culture,” which internalizes violence not only as a self-defense mechanism but also as a way of gaining respect and obtaining material wealth (Cullen, Agnew, & Wilcox, 2017).
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Another theory that explains these circumstances is the Life-Cycle theory, according to which most crimes are committed during teenage years and early adulthood (Cullen et al., 2017). The majority of gang members are aged between 18-22, which fits into the volatile age group. A potential policy to help reduce youth-related crime in impoverished black neighborhoods is through government support of single families and the promotion of a “decent” lifestyle over the “Street code.” This approach is supported by both the Life-Cycle theory and racial theory, which offer abundant explanations of applied mechanisms from each side of the theoretical spectrum.
Cullen, F. T., Agnew, R., & Wilcox, P. (2017). Criminological theory: Past to present: Essential readings (6th ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Friedson, M., & Sharkey, P. (2015). Violence and neighborhood disadvantage after the crime decline. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 660(1), 341-358.
Jasurek, C. (2018). 23 members of Chicago street gang face federal charges. The Epoch Times. Web.