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Gang Culture - Essay Example

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Gang Culture

Gangs are a considerable problem, because membership within a gang has been shown to amplify delinquent behavior. Furthermore, there are many factors which can lead to integration within a gang, making it difficult to predict or prevent (Winfree Jr., Fuller, Vigil & Mays, 1992). For many people, time within a gang constitutes an important part of their life, however, a large number also successfully leave a gang (Pyrooz & Decker, 2011). It is important to understand the culture of gangs to help find ways of preventing youths from entering gangs, or helping them to successfully exit. One important study that has focused on delinquency in adolescents is the Rochester Youth Development Study. This research is critically important, because it considers the behavior of youth, as well as the causes and consequences of this behavior over a long period of time. The research first started in 1986, and followed a sample of 1,000 adolescent juveniles from the 7th and 8th grades in public schools within Rochester New York, through to their early adulthood. In this study, gang membership was present in a third of the sample group, yet it was responsible for 86% of serious acts of delinquency as well as 70% of sales of drugs that occurred within the group. Those who were gang members committed violent offensives more often when they were actively part of the gang than either before joining or after leaving. The authors examined violent behavior taking into account all other potentially confounding factors, including prior violence, and poverty, and still found a significant association between being active in a gang and violence. The authors argued that this result suggested that the norms of behavior within the gang, as well as group dynamics, strongly contributed to the prevalence of violence and delinquency (Thornberry, Krohn, Lizotte & Smith, 1998). This article focused on examining the behavior of adolescents across time without any selection for gang activity. Because of this, the sample size and the duration of the study, it represents important information about the influence of gangs on behavior. One limitation is that it only considers adolescents from a particular area in New York. It could be argued that gang activity and the influence of gangs may be different in other cities or parts of the world than in Rochester. Nevertheless, the paper provides important information about the link between violent behavior, delinquency and gang behavior. An important extension of this work could be to consider a similar group in other cities in the United States, or in other parts of the world. This would help to show whether the influences of gangs are the same worldwide. In a research article, Scott Decker (1996) examined specific activities undertaken by gang members which involved the use of violence. The purpose of this paper was to consider the processes that are involved in the continued spread of violence within and between gangs, and the escalation of this violence. The author considers the role that threat plays within violence, defining this as the potential for either perceived or actual harm against the gang or its members, usually through a rival gang’s presence. In this study, data was collected from a three-year study from 1990 to 1993 in St. Louis. Information was gathered through the use of interviews conducted in neutral territory. In total, 99 gang members were interviewed as part of this study, with individuals from 29 ...Show more


Gang Culture [Name of the writer] [Name of the institution] Gang Culture Literature Review Gang culture is a significant problem throughout the world, and it contributes to violence and crime. A gang can be defined as a group consists of youngsters, and is identifiable as a distinct grouping within their neighborhood…
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Gang Culture Essay essay example
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