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Case Study: Why Do Youth Join Gangs Essay

Presently, youths and adolescent teens have become progressively enticed to join gangs. An individual joining a gang or a non-criminal group consists of different pushes and pulls that work in tandem to represent an attraction or dominating force. In this case, for example, “gang membership can increase status among peers, especially girls (for boys)” while also allowing the opportunity to be with them (Why Do Youth Join Gangs? ). Gangs also provide a sense of excitement through illicit drug selling and the ability to earn money.

By committing these illicit acts, youths perceive themselves making a rational choice in their decision to join a gang. It is assumed candidates for gangs are already delinquent or have a high probability for delinquency (Densley, 2010 pg. 3). What pushes adolescents in the direction of gangs are the social, economic, and cultural forces. Key factors would include protection from another gang, lack social relationships, and social adjustment problems. Occasionally in some communities, youths are intensively recruited or Gangs and Organized Crime coerced into joining a gang, while a few are virtually born into gangs as a result of a parent’s past and current affiliations with a gang, while also taking part in criminal activity. Gangs do not simply recruit anyone into their ranks. Like all groups, gangs are constrained in terms of economic and social endowments. In practical terms if gangs are overpopulated the services offered by the gang cannot adequately meet the needs of its members.

Because of this, gangs “must contain the number of those sharing their selective incentives for membership, including pecuniary and non-pecuniary benefits (Densely, 2010 pg. ). Meaning that selectivity pertaining to gangs in practice is a two way process in which people do not only choose gangs, but gangs also choose people. The benefits that come from joining a gang, comes with many more underlying risks that youths generally ignore. Affiliation with gangs as an adolescent teen impedes academic success. By having low commitment to school and high levels of anti-social behavior, creates a label for any youth to be known as someone who is “learning disabled” (Why Do Youth Join Gangs? ). A youth that is negatively labeled becomes trapped in that label due to the process of tagging.

In this circumstance, “tagging is the process whereby an individual is negatively defined by the agencies of justice” (Schmalleger, 2014 pg. 231). The justice defined in this case, are the teachers and distant students towards a youth. Secondary deviance is a result of tagging and plays a forceful role on the youth to internalize their negative labels placed upon by others to assume the role of the deviant. Gangs and Organized Crime 4. As stated before, gangs provide social relationships for adolescents because of the lack of parental role models.

Certain behaviors demonstrated by the adolescent become unregulated and uncontrolled. These youths grow up and due to their unregulated behavior, consequently corrupt the future youths of the community they live in (Why Do Youth Join Gangs? ). Their behaviors become cultural norms within the community resulting in the creation of barriers that prevent social and economic opportunities. The defiant character that may manifest from gang affiliation produces a “fatalistic view of the world” providing the youth with the interpretation that everything or anything that happens around them is fate and unavoidable.

Prevention of gang violence is not just the responsibility of the government, but the community as well. In Hobbema, Alberta, Canada, a program called the Hobbema Community Cadet Corps (HCCCP) created by two RCMP officers, reports of having over 1000 young people between the ages of 6 and 18 in a community that has received the reputation of being a hotbed of crime and disorder (Grekul & Sanderson, 2011). The aim of this military-style program is to deter criminal behavior among young people, including their possibility of gang involvement, by providing its members with pro-social alternatives to criminality.

Pro-social alternatives such as opportunities to learn ethical values that include: group identity, discipline, and camaraderie. Recreational activities and travel are also provided to the group, which is otherwise unavailable to many due to the impoverished area. Gangs and Organized Crime 5 This program provides at-risk youths with crime prevention through social development (CPSD). CPSD is an integrated, theoretical, and practical response to factors which are thought to contribute to criminal behavior. It is argued by CPSD advocates that crime is a representation of key social problems.

Social problems comprised of a lack of support from parents or relatives, lack of education, and low employment rates (Grekul & Sanderson, 2011). Solutions to key social problems are anticipated through acknowledging and solving social issues such as poverty, illiteracy and family violence, through government investments. Situated in an Aboriginal community, HCCCP is faced with the racial profiling of Aboriginal people, due to their overrepresentation in the criminal justice system. They are challenged with structurally based disadvantages that present difficulties for the population.

With the environment of the Hobbema Community Cadet Corps, CPSD can result in gang prevention, because of prevalent criminal behavior being either directly or indirectly linked to gang involvement. Preventing organized crime is a complex task that law enforcement in North America is currently taking on. Canada is using anti-gang violence policies from the United States (U. S. ) as a template, due to the prominence of gang violence in the U. S.. In spite of the efforts to implement these policies, it is argued that they would have a marginal benefit to Canada, since gang problems in both countries are conceptualized differently.

Because of the historical and demographic contrast between U. S. and Canada, along with differences in political culture, Canadian gang scholars should examine closely on its own country’s problem from an independent Gangs and Organized Crime 6 standpoint (Ezeonu 2014). With this, instead of easily mimicking American policies, “Canadian stakeholders should reflect the national kaleidoscope in designing policy interventions, specifically suited to the country’s gang problem” (Ezeonu 2014, pg, 5). American gang scholarship focuses disproportionately on racial minority youths.

Focusing on the racial minority will ultimately narrow different possibilities to address gang violence, and create unnecessary racial profiling for different minorities in question. Various police departments in Canada are using different definitions that enable them to profile ‘gang members’. In this case, the Winnipeg police department has created a definition for gangs in that they are a “group of individuals consorting together to engage in unlawful activity” (Hemmati 2006, p. 25). However, this definition is problematic because if put through context, Johnstone (1981, p. 55) argues that one individual’s gang can be another’s clique, crowd, or youth group. The purpose of this argument is to stipulate that without a concrete definition of a gang, the identification of a “gang” depends on different individuals labeling different groups. Definitions play a crucial role in identifying problems and creating appropriate responses to them. Recognizing the variations of definitions can help in the creation of social responses to problems (Decker and Kempf-Leonard 1981, p. 272).

If different jurisdictions were to implement their own policies to other locations, because of different criminal definitions – similarly to the situation Gangs and Organized Crime between U. S. and Canada, there would be a marginal benefit due to aforementioned reasons. Organized crime groups today are not limited to their own territories, and are now taking their criminal activity on the Internet. Cyber crime requires a high degree of organization and individuals specialized to work in an online environment.

Teenagers have succeeded in “disabling air traffic control systems, shutting down major e-retailers, and manipulating trades on the NASDAQ stock exchange” (Broadhurst 2014, pg. 2). It is speculated in Australia that law enforcement agencies, academic researchers, and the cyber security industry that organized crime groups have become progressively more involved in cyber crime. Evidence suggests cyber crime members “are located in close geographic proximity even when their attacks are cross-national” (Broadhurst 2014, pg. 3).

A study on spam and malicious phishing sources found that they originated from small number of Internet service providers (ISP), in which 20 of the 42,201 ISPs were observed (Moura, 2013). Because of the diversity of the types of cyber crime, ranging from manipulating stock markets to distributed denial-of-service attacks on websites, it is important to avoid and spread stereotypical images of cyber criminals. As those stereotypes will inevitably create definitions that will vary in different countries, and policies created with the purpose of preventing cyber crime will produce marginal results.

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