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Reducing Violent Street Gangs and Delinquent Activity in a Cost-Effective Manner Analytical Essay

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Updated: Jul 15th, 2019

Introduction

The expansion of youth gang and crime problem supports the intention to analyze the phenomenon and to devise the effective and sustainable intervention protocols. The problem of urban gang and gang affair has been documented in various studies, surveys and reports des. A wide range of studies have provided substantial volume of knowledge applicable in research and practice.

The Review of the Historic Literature and the Examination of the Historic Policies

From the historical perspective, studies showed that the emergence of the American gangs started in 1760s. The gangs were organized and emerged on the racial and ethnic principle. Ethnic homogeneity was their main characteristic.

Some studies suggested that the first gangs organized in the US were Irish groups but later they were followed by Germans, Italians and Jewish groups (Van Ngo, 2009). However, gang affair is not a static phenomenon because it evolves with time in order to adapt to the new security measures and survive in the new societies and environments.

The US, like other industrialized nations, has many urban areas with numerous cities, which have the ineffective social policies and a considerable population of the minority groups. However, there are some unique aspects of the development of young gangs and related crimes. For instance, gangs in the country are larger, complex, more prevalent and permanent within the community than in the other industrialized nations (Walker, Horner, Sugai, Bullis, et al., 2006).

Theories, Styles, and Models of Leadership Addressing the Problem

One of the major primary methods of prevention used in the last few decades involved the school-based prevention programs that targeted children and teenagers studied at school as the general population at risk. The theory or concept behind this method was based on the perception that the schools were some of the major targets for gangs.

The public education system was the major target of these initiatives. According to Gottfredson (2009), the average public middle-school demonstrated about 14 different types of violence, drug problems and other types of social problem prevention programs.

The Gang Resistance Education and Training program has been one of the best paradigms of recent gang prevention methods in application since 1990s. Its aim is to protect local schoolchildren from involvement in gang affair. The program is known as GREAT. It was established in 1991 by the Phoenix Police department.

Classical and Contemporary Theoretical Perspectives

According to the studies by Dilulio (1995) and Fox (1996), the 21st century American society would experience the high number of gangs with complex activities. The authors warned that the new century would be characterized by the sharp increase in the number of violent crimes and homicides because the new generation would be a “cohort of super predators”.

They argued that the members of the new generation of gangs would be young, ruthless and knowledgeable people with casual attitudes towards crime and violence. However, these findings had been disputed by a number of researchers and authors in crime and violence.

For instance, Zimring (2006) argued that the earlier reports were mainly based on the prediction and belief that about 6% of the American youths would be actively involved in violent crimes. According to Dilulio (1995), the number of male youths under the age of 18 years in the country would increase rapidly from 32 million to more than 36 million, resulting into additional 270,000 cases of serious delinquents.

Classical Theory on the Contemporary Problem-Solving

The wide range of studies and analysis of theories and concepts surrounding the recent and past gang control interventions and programs shows that the three major methods of gang control have been applied. Primary interventions are the methods that target the whole population considered to be at risk.

They also seek to identify gang and gang affair as the major contributors to the crime. They focus on such conditions as personal, environmental and social aspects of the population. Secondary methods seek to deal with the group of persons considered to be at risk.

This group mainly includes children and young people at schools in the neighborhoods. On the other hand, tertiary prevention methods attempt to target the people who have already been involved in crime behavior or are affiliates of certain gangs.

The Review of the Contemporary Research and Statistics

Gang prevention programs have attempted to follow or take into consideration some of these predictions over the last 2 decades. The prediction that a large number of gangs in the 21st century will mainly be marauding, murderers, drug-dealers and drug users, violent and ruthless has dominated much of the strategies used to deal with these gangs.

These programs have been based on one of the main theoretical concepts of dealing with gangs in the US. However, some researchers have shown that the majority of modern gangs include members who operate as innocent people, attending schools, community work, and attempting to avoid attention of the media, the public and the police. In fact, this controversy in predictions has affected the modern strategies of dealing with crimes.

Several authorities and studies attempted to document an estimate the number of gangs and their members in the US. However, there were the controversies over the exact definition of a “gang” and it was difficult to determine what kind of group should be considered as a gang.

Nonetheless, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, about 94% of the medium shows the active nature of gangs (FBI, 2009). The FBI report shows that most cities in the US have a significant number of gangs, with some cities having more than 40 different groups.

In addition, the report shows that in the 1990s, the country had more than 40,000 members of different gangs located in various urban centers (Fraser, 2002). However, the report shows that the number of gangs and gang members kept increasing every year.

According to the FBI, the country had about 249,324 members of different gangs in the previous years. According to the National Gang Threat Assessment (2009), the number increased drastically to more than 500,000 members of different gangs in the various urban areas.

The Contemporary Ways of Problem-Solving

The current efforts seek to determine the specialized intervention and prevention protocols necessary for dealing with the problem and considering the complex nature of the modern gang affair. Several authors have shown the necessity of studying gang affair and delinquency as individual topics.

Although most researchers study gangs as a distinct topic, it is necessary to consider gangs and gang prevention and intervention programs within the wider topic of juvenile delinquency. According to the study of Thornberry, Krohn, Lizotte and Chard-Wierschem (2003), the members of gangs are delinquent even before they join a gang.

The Evaluation of the Information

Juvenile violence, which is associated with gang affair, has been one of the main social problems in the country. According to Putnam (2005), the increase in the population due to the Baby Boom is the primary reason for the increase in gangs and gang membership.

For instance, the number of people aged between 13 and 17 years rose to about 10% in correspondence with the increase in the number of births. Noteworthy, the number decreased to about 7% of the total population in the 1980s.

However, studies showed that this tendency did not affect the rate of increase in the number of gangs and gang members. For instance, a study by Zimring (2006) showed that the number of juvenile crime rate continued to increase throughout the decade, raising the public and media concerns.

According to Dahlberg (2008), public concern focused more on juvenile violence, delinquency and rates of drug use, than on any other social security issue. The rate of juvenile involvement in gangs and violence increased rapidly between 1980s and 1990s. According to Covey, Menard and Franzese (2013), the rate of homicide doubled in the 1990s due to the concurrent emergence of gangs and crack cocaine among the urban youths.

Conclusion

A number of secondary level prevention programs have been applied in the various areas. Some of the most important programs, which have been applied recently include ‘Boys and Girls Clubs of America’ (BGCA) and the Montreal Program (Twemlow & Sacco, 1998).

They involve structural education, life skill training and recreational activities. As for the Montreal Program, it tend to focus on the early childhood risk factors influencing the involvement in violent crime and gang affairs.

Mainly, the program targets the boys from low socioeconomic households. It is based on the empirical belief that this group is at the higher risk of involvement in the gang affairs and membership in gangs than the groups from the upper socioeconomic background.

References

Covey, H. C., Menard, S., & Franzese, R. J. (2013). Effects of adolescent physical abuse, exposure to neighborhood violence, and witnessing parental violence on adult socioeconomic status. Child maltreatment, 18(2), 85-97.

Dahlberg, L. L. (2008). Youth violence in the United States: major trends, risk factors, and prevention approaches. American journal of preventive medicine, 14(4), 259-272.

DiIulio, J. J. (1995). Help wanted: Economists, crime and public policy. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 10(1), 3-24.

FBI. (2009). . Web.

Fox, J. A. (1996). Trends in juvenile violence: A report to the United States Attorney General on current and future rates of juvenile offending. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Fraser, M. W. (2002). Aggressive behavior in childhood and early adolescence: An ecological-developmental perspective on youth violence. Social Work, 41(4), 347-361.

Gottfredson, D. C. (2009). Schools and Delinquency. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Putnam, R. D. (2005). Tuning in, tuning out: The strange disappearance of social capital in America. PS-WASHINGTON-, 28, 664-664.

Thornberry, T. P., Krohn, M. D., Lizotte, A. J., & Chard-Wierschem, D. (2003). The role of juvenile gangs in facilitating delinquent behavior. Journal of research in Crime and Delinquency, 30(1), 55-87.

Twemlow, S. W., & Sacco, F. C. (1998). The application of traditional martial arts practice and theory to the treatment of violent adolescents. Adolescence, 33(131), 505-518.

Van Ngo, H. (2009). Patchwork, sidelining and marginalization: Services for immigrant youth. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies, 7(1), 82-100.

Walker, H. M., Horner, R. H., Sugai, G., Bullis, M., et al. (2006). Integrated approaches to preventing antisocial behavior patterns among school-age children and youth. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 4(4), 194-209.

Zimring, W. (2006). The great American crime decline. Oxford University Press.

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