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Youth Gangs - Essay Example

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Youth Gangs

Thrasher (1927), says in the “Gang” that, “they may have emerged spontaneously from adolescent play groups as a collective response to urban condition in this country” While others, suggests that gangs emerged after the Mexican revolution in 1813”. As to why and how they were manifested, ‘gangs may have frown out of difficulties Mexican youth encountered with social and cultural adjustment to the American way of life under extremely poor conditions in the southwest”. Gangs appeared to have spread to New England in the early 1800’s as the industrial revolution gained momentum in the first large cities in the United States: New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Miller observed, the United States has seen four distinct periods of gang growth and peak activity; the late 1800’s, the 1920’s, the 1960’s and the 1990’s”. According to Klien, “In the modern era, there are a number of trends that have contributed to the influence of gang activity, during the 1970’s and 1980’s given heightened mobility, and unfettered access to more lethal weapons, many gangs become more dangerous” According to Miller, “Gang fights oreviously involved fist fights or brass knuckles, but now they increasing involve guns. The growing availability of automobiles, coupled with the use of more lethal weapons, fueled the growth of drive-by shootings, a tactic which formerly took the form of on foot hit and run forays”....
older members than before"(Miller, 1992 Spergel,1995)

According to Sanchez-Jankowski 1991; Skolnick et al, 1988; Taylor 1989, "some

youth gangs appear to have been transformed into entrepreneurial organizations by the

crack cocaine epidemic that began in the mid-1980's. However, Howell and Decker in

press) contend that, "the extent to which they have become drug trafficking organizations

is unclear"

According to Curry and Decker 1998, "The average age of youth gang members is

about 17 to 18 years", but tends to be older in cities where gangs have been in existence

longer, like Chicago and Los Angeles" The typical age range is 12 to 24. Although more

younger members are becoming more prevalent, it is the older membership that has

increased the most"(Hagerdorn, 1988; Moore,1990, Spergel, 1995)

"Male gang members outnumber females by a wide margin, and this span is greater

in late adolescence than in early adolescence"(Miller, 1992; Moore, 1978). "Gangs vary

in size by type of gang. Traditional (large, enduring, territorial) gangs average about 180

members"(Klien and Maxson 1996). As per Block and Block, 1993, and Spergel, 1995,

"In large cities gangs number in the thousands"

In the 19th century, youth gangs in the United States were primarily Irish, Jewish

and Italian"(Haskins, 1974; Sante,1991) According to a recent national law enforcement

survey, the ethnicity of gang members is 48 per cent African-American, 43 per cent

3




Hispanic, 5 per cent white, and 4 per cent Asian"(Curry 1996) Bursik and Grasmick

(1993) points out that, "despite the ...Show more

Summary

It is believed that youth gangs initially appeared in Europe, or Mexico. However it is not totally clear when or why youth gangs made their appearance in the United States. …
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