Gang behavior is influenced by various factors. Gangs have been defined as criminal organizations, usually comprising of juveniles, who are unified by a common purpose of destruction. Gang membership has been a major societal problem…
In order to be able to solve this problem, it is important to study the reasons or the root causes of gang behavior with the intention of trying to prevent new gang membership, while at the same time embarking on a mission to dismantle the already existing ones. This paper is a critical evaluation of the factors that influence gang behavior. Factors that Influence.Human beings are born innocent, free of sins and incapable of making any decision. However, as they continue to grow, they are faced with numerous challenges raging from family issues to other environmental factors, which influence their innocent minds either into becoming responsible persons or the worst of criminals in the society. To begin with, parents contribute a significant percentage towards the success or failure of a child in terms of behavior. This is due to the fact that they act as immediate role models and a source of inspiration for their growing children. It is for this reason that Carlie (2002) observes that poor parentage is a major contributing factor to gang behavior. For example, if one or both parents are gang members, more often than not, it becomes likely that their children will follow that route. This may be worse in families that are dysfunctional and which are characterized by numerous cases of domestic conflicts and child abuse. The rationale of this assertion is that if a child is subjected to these factors, he will grow up believing that violence is a virtue and unless this mentality is changed through proper guidance and counseling, then, the child would have neither a reason nor the guts to refrain from joining violent organizations. Outside family circles, growing up children and youths are influenced by peer pressure to engage in antisocial behavior, which may include gang membership. Peer pressure refers to the powerful influence that a group of people in the same age group have on each other. In this context, it has been noted that people tend to acquire the behaviors of other members of their social groups as a way of trying to fit into those groups. This factor has been blamed on other negative behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse, fornication, among others and gang membership cannot be excluded from this list. According to myelsie.org (2010), “young people are very susceptible to peer pressure.” One reason for this is that young people always want to identify with friends and when it comes to choosing between friendship and conscience, most of them will definitely choose friendship even if it means that they would have to tolerate and involve themselves in criminal activities. In the US, it is a fact that gang membership is highly prevalent in schools and even if a child comes from a family that is opposed to gang membership and activities, he or she may end up joining the gangs so as not to be rejected or harassed by his or her peers (myelsie.org 2010). Poverty is blamed for numerous atrocities and gang behavior is one of such. Everyone wants to lead a comfortable life, to drive beautiful cars, drink high quality beer or wine, to live in a luxurious home among others. Whereas it is difficult for a normal civilian, especially from poor neighborhoods, to acquire these items, it is highly ...
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