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Howell's article mentioned that the definition of a youth gang varies from every state. They are considered a group of young delinquents assumed to have associated themselves with a gang name. This would correspond to a certain set of characteristics and symbolism usually exclusive to their group. The size of these groups also varies from every location.
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According to a survey, adolescents join gangs at the rate of 14-30%. Their ages range from 12-24, and their membership continues to expand since 1980, same with the gang problems reported to the authorities. Howell established in his article that a great portion of the country experiences delinquency from these gangs. The article also mentioned that gangs were not exclusive to men. There are some female members reported as well.
A large portion of the crimes reported were by the many youth gangs. This was given the rate of 3 is to 1 of the crimes committed by non gang related crimes in Denver. In Rochester, it is 7 to 1. Their influences are definitely greater than non gang members, and the effects can stretch for a very long term. Offense rates significantly drop when the gang leaves the area. That is also because gangs are usually involved with drug and alcohol use. Violence seemed inevitable. On the other hand, there is no relation between gangs and drug trafficking and homicides. Another study also showed that the growth of gangs have nothing to do with gang migration. It was found out that although there was an increase in theft and robbery when gangs migrate, the changes were not drastic in some regions.
The composition of these gangs usually consist of Italians, Irish and Jewish. However, according to a national survey, almost half of the gangs comprises of blacks at 48%. Others are Hispanic, at 43%. Whites covered 5%, while 4% were established to be Asians. On the other hand, where students are involved, white adolescents are of a larger scale. Those black students who admitted they were gang members were 31% of the sample. Hispanic and the Whites got 25% each, and 5% were Asian.
Youth gang is a fact in any society. Seemed as secret congregations, these gangs have brought fear and paranoia in many people. They have become a threat in and society. However, these percentages and studies only highlighted gang involvement by race. These digits can lead one to assume that blacks will most likely involve themselves with gangs and Asians are mostly composed of good people. This form of stereotyping should never be accepted in any society. In fact it should be discouraged.
Although the article presented significant data, it somehow failed to establish the causes of these delinquent activities. How did they become a threat? They have been rated to all the crimes, compared with other transgressions in society, but the author did not include its source. If youth gangs are approached as an illness in society, then articles such as this should also supply means to counter the predicament. It should have provided suggestions. Although its aim was suppose to render information to a public, there should an underlying purpose and an avenue to attain that.
Delinquency should not have been equated to race. The significant difference among colors should not matter as much. The crime rates by youth gangs should be lowered to none. The youth should not be involved. They should be able to enjoy their childhood without hate or anger. If rates are greater due to youth gangs then action should be done at the most immediate time. We should not have waited to have these statistics show us how grave the problem already is. However, now that these numbers are here, a move should be initiated.
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