Gang Mentality in America – A Breif Overview

The Criminal Mind, I feel my final paper should reflect the subject of gangs, and gang violence in American society, as well as the irrefutable damage this problem causes for everyone. Because it is an important aspect

to the concept of this course, I will cover the reality of gangs as I see it in relation to criminal thinking. Although the subject of gang violence is globally apparent, and is seen in many variations regarding custom and culture and because it goes beyond the scope of this essay to cover every aspect of the gang mentality, its background, and its future, I shall narrow my focus on the American example of street gangs, specifically, its relevance to the many mannerisms and identifying factors of the criminal mind.

The subject of gangs and the gang mentality has been an unfortunate reality in the United States since its initial beginning in the mid 1500s. From the “Allegiance,” a rural criminal gang during Revolutionary era New England, who raided cabins and villages, thieving, raping and murdering its victims, to the organized gang enforcer and professional luters known as the “Bummers” during the American Civil War era, the gang presence has been with us from the start, and has most likely coexisted within the human condition all along. This reality, although harsh, has proven to remain relativily the same regardless of technology and educational advances of modern day.

To this end, the exemplification of these modern gangs and organized criminal societies will be shown in both the researched aspects, consisting of up-to-date law enforcement statistics and visual representations, such as the identifying factors of modern U.S. gangs, like tattoos, grafetti and insignias. And, because this subject is so vast, only the most relative and active gangs will be used for exemplification for this paper.

Gangs in America: A Brief Review.

The problem of gangs is prevalent in today’s society. There are many reasons why so many youths join gangs. Gangs are more available to young people today than ever before. When students lack academic achievement, they often also lack social success and involvement in school activity. Less than desirable home and family circumstances compound the youths’ problems. They become more vulnerable to the fascination of gangs. Law enforcement agencies have to deal with the problems of gangs, and they must act to curtail that problem.

According to Loundsbury (1996), there are six reasons why youths join gangs: (1) Young people need an identity, (2) Young people need to bond, (3) youths join gangs is to be perceived as competent in some area, or any area, (4) Youths feel safe and secure in gangs, (5) Young people join gangs to become members of something new, exciting and different, and (6) Young people join gangs for acceptance. (p. 211)

In other words, young people join gangs due to anomie, they have a lack of purpose; a lack of identity. With today’s society being what it is there is a sense of rootlessness in young people. This anomie causes them to turn to gangs for needs that are not being met in familial and pedagogical environments. They lack ethical values due to society’s broken home status, and many parents are not able to “parent” their children because of second jobs, or simply not having parenting skills. There are many
theories associated with the gang activity and deviance in general, such as the strain theory, differential association, and social control…The number of gangs in America is astounding.

According to Danitz (1998) there are “75 documented gangs” that are operating in Washington, DC alone. Lt. Lawrence W. Thomas, who is the commander of the department that monitors gang activity in Washington, feels that this is not bad when compared to other major cities. In a 1996 report it was found that there are an estimated “250 crews, mobs, and posses” active at “10 different high schools, eight junior-high schools, two middle schools and two adult education centers.” This in is complete contradiction with the argument that there is no gang problem. Denial does not make the problem dissipate. When cities deny that there is a gang problem they deny themselves of federal financial assistance in the fighting or prevention of gang related problems. (p.14).

Police departments and others are fighting to teach children to “reject the call of the streets,” and to be a part of other, more positive day programs in their communities. In one area a program called GREAT was formed. This is an acronym for “Gang Resistance Education and Training” program, which teaches children the things they need to know about how to survive on the street. Drug information is covered, and so is the effects of alcohol use. The children learn lessons on how to treat people. Police administer the GREAT program. It is a government nonprofit program whose purpose is to prevent the ruination of children’s lives form gang involvement, crime and violence.

According to Brogan (1995), George Akerlof and Janet L. Yellon posit that community values can be an asset in the control of gang activity. Community cooperation with the police is dependent upon the neighborhood’s prevalent value choices. (p. 24)

The best solution to the problem of gangs is to stop them from forming. This can be done in several ways. One organization alone can not end the problem of gangs. However, when society works together as a whole, the efforts of law enforcement to curtail the problem of gangs can be maximized to their fullest potential.

Lounsbury (1996) believes that a student’s lack of academic achievement is often accompanied by a lack of social success and involvement in school activities. Further, when home and family circumstances are less than desirable, some students’ problems are compounded, and they become vulnerable to the lure of gangs. (p. 211)

Law Enforcement efforts to curtail the problem of gangs should include community policing programs. When a police officer is seen regularly in the community, he/she becomes a role model instead of a “bad guy.” When the community and the police work together in cooperative programs each benefits from those programs. If a child sees that police are their friends and that someone really does care about them, they are less inclined to join gangs. If a child is prevented form joining a gang, the problem is on its way to being solved.

Law Enforcement agencies first need to admit that there is a gang problem. Many refuse to do so. Once they admit that there is a problem, they are well on their way to fixing the problem. Many law enforcement agencies deny the existence of
gangs. In that way they do not have to legitimize gangs.

Law enforcement agencies, communities and schools must work together in order to stop the problem of gangs. No one person or agency is able to do this alone. They must all work together for the common goal of fighting gangs. In this way, the problem can and will be solved.

One manner in which the problem of gangs was solved is the GREAT program. It works with kids in the fifth, sixth and seventh grades, where officers go into the classrooms for one class period per week and talk to the children about what happens to kids in gangs, how to set goals and resist peer pressure, as well as how to resolve conflicts and problems without resorting to violence. The students really enjoy the program because of the perks, which include day trips and summer camp, all paid for by the police department.

Danitz (1998) posits that the law enforcement community alone can not solve the problem of gangs. Further assistance is necessary for this problem to be solved. Children need role models. The police can not be everywhere at all times. The schools, communities and families must also play a viable part in the solution to the problem of gangs. (p. 246)

Children need an alternative to gangs. If something else meets the social needs of the child he/she will not resort to gangs. In the theory of differential association, young people that are involved in gangs are likely to antagonize their peers into becoming a member of a gang. Agnew & Brezina (1997), feel that the measures of social control, as well as differential association are important gauges into delinquent behavior. Because of this, it is possible for a person with a low level of social control to adopt deviant behavior, such as gang activity. Moreover, these authors seem to posit that social control may be reduced by peer association and deviant beliefs, or in other words, strain measures have a reciprocal relation to both social control and differential association.

Although both authors suggest that if a child can be drawn away from gangs, then half the battle is won, with the prevalence of gangs, however, it is nonetheless, difficult to keep a child from being confronted by the gang mentality, when that is all he or she sees, and that sight looks so much better than what he or she has or has not. Because of this, society has a difficult task of keeping the gang away from the child and the child away from the gang, but it can be done.

In some contexts, consideration of gangs has moved from a curious cultural phenomenon to a pernicious economic force embedded in the economic and political systems of the society, sometimes competing for authority with school and church…Gangs are geographically and culturally diverse, and almost uniformly they are connected with delinquency, yet some argue that delinquency is a correlate of the term, ‘gang,’ and not a defining characteristic. Furthermore, gang members have been involved in a sufficient number of delinquent incidents to call forth a consistent negative response from neighborhood residents and/or law enforcement agencies. With the increased prevalence and sophistication of the arming of youth, public perceptions of threat from gangs seem to be at an all time high. A recent Gallup Poll (Associated Press, 1994) showed that adults viewed fighting, violence, and gangs as the biggest problem confronting public schools.

Young people live in two social worlds. One is in the cultural surrounding of peers in school and at leisure. The other is the familial world of the family and home. When with their peers, young people are in a domain with its own rules of dress, behavior, music, and speech. There is an emphasis on popularity and physical attractiveness, and for some, athletic success. The family environment has been known to clash with the peer culture, and school. The transition between the two cultures is frequent since it occurs at least twice per day in normal situations.

According to Warr (1993), “Criminologists have long recognized the importance of family and peers in the etiology of delinquency, but these two influences are commonly analyzed in isolation. However, if peers are treated as potential instigators of delinquency (following differential association theory) and parents as potential barriers to delinquency (following control theory), a crucial question emerges: Is parental influence capable of counteracting the influence of delinquent peers? Analysis of data from the National

Youth Survey reveals that the amount of time spent with family is indeed capable of reducing and even eliminating peer influence. By contrast, attachment to parents (the affective relation between parents and offspring) apparently has no such effect…Instead,it appears to affect delinquency indirectly by inhibiting the initial formation of delinquent friendships.” (p. 247)

Joining a gang is considered to be a delinquent behavior, therefore, this is applicable to the problem of gangs. Young people join gangs because of differential association. Other gang members make gangs activity seem “cool.” Since the child is influenced by the cultures both inside and outside of the home, it would be in society’s best interest to purport the familial unit to the child. This assists the law enforcement agencies in curtailing the problem of gangs. If a child gets what he needs from home and school he or she will not need the gang relationship. Parents are not playing the positive role models that they should. Without positive role models the child is going to formulate delinquent peers through differential association, even though parents do not
activity condone gang activity. Even those that have been involved in criminal activity know the seriousness of becoming a gang member. It is not something the parent wants for his or her child, but by not being there when a child needs him or her, the parent is giving the child over to gang membership and the many problems associated with gang activity.

Where is the parent when the gang offers the child an identity? The child needs an
identity. They want to be recognized and regarded as part of something unique. Gangs give them an identity that will distinguish them. Gang members have their own “colors”. They oftentimes have tattoos. They have their own “turf.”
Where is the parent when the child needs to bond? Young people need to bond. They join gangs to become included in something they perceive as meaningful, something that gives them a sense of family where they oftentimes had none, or they were estranged from them. Many gang members only have their gangs. They do not have families. The gang is their family. They need to bond with other human beings since they are not able to bond with their families.

Where is the parent when the child needs to be perceived as competent at something? Young people join gangs is to be perceived as competent. This is true even though they are successful in an area that is not valued by society. Just being in a gang gives them an aura of success. This perception is skewed. To them being a gang member is being “somebody”. They are no longer just a “nobody”. They are members of a gang.

Where is the parent when a young person needs to feel safe? Young people feel safe and secure in gangs. They have a familial unit in gangs. They know that the other gang members will protect them. They swear an oath to their gang to never leave. Only death takes a person out of a gang. They become one with the gang, instead of with the family unit.
Identification: A Terminology Manual and Pictorial Guide.

Under each gang heading, detailed information can be found describing graphic renditions and explanatory information regarding the gang. The designs might be rendered in the form of graffiti, tattoos or other symbols. Street gangs are not a new phenomenon– they have existed in every country in one form or another throughout recorded history. There is a long history of street gangs in most metropolitan areas of the US, the first of which can be traced back as far as the 1920’s. In the initial stages, family members and close friends bonded together for self defense, then groups provided protection from rival gangs, and eventually, gangs came to rely on criminal activities as a source of income

Today, street gangs can be a major challenge to criminal justice official, as in recent years, their activities have grown to include drug traffic, extortion, drive-by shootings and numerous acts of random violence. Gang members generally are young and impulsive, striking out at different elements of society in wanton fashion. They often lack the group discipline necessary to prevent members from acting individually or in Ga smaller groups. They intimidate neighborhoods, making citizens extremely reluctant to assist law enforcement officials pursuing criminal investigation.

As members of street gangs are confined in prison, they carry their affiliations with them and pose significant control problems. As the number of these individuals in prison grows, they potentially pose a far greater problem to correctional staff than many existing prison gangs.

Street gang members share a general outlook on life which includes loyalty to other members and portraying a callous and ruthless image– one that can be enhanced by drive-by shooting, robberies or other crimes. The more violent and dangerous a particular gang member is perceived to be, the more respect he is accorded by both fellow and rival gang members. Some members develop a sociopathic mentality that differs radically from other types of juvenile offenders.

Most criminally active youth are between the ages of 14 and 25, and most gang members are usually between the age of 9 and 25. However, some members may be in their 30’s or older. There is no traditional chain of command for many of these groups, although older members generally have the most influence. If a chronological approach based on age is used, the usual structural breakdown of street gangs is as follows:

Original Gangsters: Other wise known as “OG’s”, these members are in the upper echelon of gang command. They tend to remain apart from the day-to-day gang activities, with many actually running legitimate businesses as fronts for their gang involvement.

Gangsters: The gangster or “G’s” are the backbone of the street gang. They are usually younger than the original gangster’s, (14-17 years old,) and generally represent rank and file street gang membership.

Pee Wees: Also called “Baby Gangsters”, they are usually (9-13 years old,) and are used by senior gang members for menial task like serving as runners, sentries or writing graffiti.

Tiny Gangster: also called “TG’s” are the youngest member of gangs, usually between the age of six and nine. They primarily carryout very menial tasks for older gang members.

Gang Communications: US street gangs place a major emphasis on communications. Many have developed intricate communications methods–
apparel worn in a specific manner, individual nicknames, selected and easily discernible “colors”, graphic symbols, and graffiti– which have little or no special meaning to the untrained individual who is not a gang member. Gang members often communicate with each other by means of “placas”– a form of nonverbal communication.

Hand signs (flashing) and graffiti show gang affiliation, but also communicate ideas, e.g., an impending shooting. Gangs have several different ways of displaying their colors. They wear clothing that is the primary or secondary color of their gang and also may carry colored handkerchiefs to signify gang affiliation. The handkerchief may be carried inside the waist band as a flag.

Street gangs are territorial and identify their territory by spray painting graffiti on walls, usually in the predominant color of the gang. The symbols portrayed in the graffiti not only signify turf, but chronicle the current state of gang affairs, rivalries, drug supplies, and other significant information. In essence, gangs believe it is extremely important to protect their symbols from insults by rivals; degradation of a gang symbol is an extreme insult. A gang emblem upside down has been degraded, and numerous gang wars and gang related murders have started with an insult of that type.

As street gangs become better financed and more numerous, battles for territorial control become more violent. A potentially deadly tactic for attacking rival gang members is the drive-by shooting– gang members using pistols, shotguns, assault rifles, or fully automatic weapons fire on targets from moving vehicles. Of the many homicides resulting from drive-by shootings, many have involved innocent bystanders.

Gang Organization: Typically, street gangs lack the sophisticated organizational structure, discipline, and lack the sophisticated organizational structure, discipline, and narrowly-focused mission of established adult gangs, such as the Aryan Brotherhood, Texas Syndicate, and others, or of other major disruptive groups such as La Cosa Nostra and South American drug cartels. However, gangs in a few cities are quite sophisticated, and have aligned themselves under umbrella structures called “Nations” or “Sets”.

How gang activity affects the community:

1. Increases in crime.
2. Increases in cost for police services.
3. Increases in cost for security services for businesses, and schools.
4. Increases burden on social services for businesses and schools.
5. Increased burden on social service systems and emergency and hospital systems.
6. Influences business recruitment, and overall city economic development impacts overall image of city, causes trauma, grief, confusion and depression over the injury and death of a loved one because of gang violence.
7. Increases the likelihood of you becoming a victim of crime, damages personal property through acts of vandalism.
8. Increases fear for your personal safety or the safety of your neighborhood.

9. May cause you to become a victim of harassment and intimidation or other more violent acts of crime such as a drive by shooting.
10. DEATH.

Who will gang activity affect:

1. Schools.
2. Movie theatres and arcades.
3. Parks and recreation centers.
4. Sporting events.
5. Shopping centers.
6. Apartments and multiple dwelling complexes.
7. Grocery and convenience stores.
8. Public transportation.
9. Hospital emergency departments.

Types of criminal gang activities:

1. Intimidation, harassment, vandalism and criminal trespassing.
2. Shoplifting, burglaries, auto thefts and thefts.
3. Arson, sexual assaults/batteries and firearms/ weapons violations.

4. Robberies, kidnapping, murder, murder for hire, violence against law enforcement and drugs, both sale and possession.

Gang Identifiers:

The following list represents common identifiers that will help identifying street gang members. Please remember that because you find one of these identifiers on an individual. It does not mean the person is a gang member. To be sure, check further for other common characteristics. As you will see below, Folk Nation members dress to the right, while People Nation dresses to the left.

1. Pant Legs:
A. Rolled up on the right side…Folk Nation.
B. Rolled up on the left side…People Nation.

2. Fingernails:
A. Gang members sometimes color, nails with their colors.
B. The fingernails hat are painted are on the hand their gang represents.

3. Beads:
A. A fad taken over by gangs. The beads are worn as part of their clothing, hair dresses, necklaces, or on their Shoes.

4. Hats:
A. Tilted to the right…Folk Nation.
B. Tilted to the left…People Nation.

5. Eyebrows, earrings, bandanas:

A. Eyebrow hair will have 3 or more cuts in it on the side their gang represents.
B. Earrings are worn on the side their gang represents.
C. Bandanas are generally worn in the colors of their gang and on the side of the body that represents their gang these bandanas can be tied on the leg, wrist, or hung from the back pockets.

Colors and Representations:

The following is a brief representation of names and colors of the major gangs throughout the United States. Although there are minor differentials from State-to-State, these colors and symbols are commonplace and identifiable nationwide. Each gang can belong to another gang entity without losing faith for its original gang foundation, and although rare, such mixtures can be seen.

1. Folk Nation. Color: Blue

G.S. / Gangster Disciples
I.G. / Imperial Gangster Disciples (Miami Clik)
I.G.D. / Insane Gangster Disciples
B.G.D./Black Gangster Disciples
M.G.D. / Maniac Gangster Disciples
I.N.P. International posse (Miami clik)
Y.L.O. / Young Latin Organization (Miami clik)

2. Crips (Crips and Folks together) Color: Blue

Eight -Tray Gangster
Rollin 60’s
Crazy C’s C-II
Thug life C’s

3. Bloods. Color: Red

L.K / Latin Kings
V.L. / Vatos Locos

A.M.L.K.Q.D.N. / Almighty Latin Kings and Queen Disciple Nation.

4. Bloods and Kings together. Color: Red

U.B. / United Bloods S.B. / Southern Bloods

B.B / Bishop Bloods
C.B / Chapter 2 Bloods (Branch of the kings set) Piru / Crips who became Bloods (Piru is crip spelled backwards, with the c turned sideways).

5. OTHER CLIKS NOT INVOLVED WITH CRIPS OR BLOODS FROM MIAMI:
L.B.B. / Latin Bad Boys Color: (Varies).
L.B.H. / Little Havana Boys
B.T.B. / Back To Back South Beach Posse
D.O.M. Dominators Of Miami
Y.L.O. / Young Latin Organization
M.M.W. / Miami’s Most Wanted
P.I.C. / Partners In Crime 27ave Boys
O.T.G / Over Town Gangsters
H.C. / Hialeah Chicos
I.G. / Imperial Gangsters
C.H.S. / Chico Hit Squad King park Boys Merrick Park Posse Gland Park Boys

Although this constitutes a relatively brief example of the gang structure in America, it should point out the detail of the gang mentality and its resourcefulness towards identification and sense of “family,” otherwise unknown to the gang member.

Folk Symbols:
Figure Series A.

The following are symbols, and their meaning, used by the FOLKS street gangs, and affiliates to identify themselves.

A. Six pointed star – 6 principles of King David.

B. Pitchfork – the Nations power in the struggle to overcome oppression.

C. Sword – life and death within the nation and the struggle to survive at all costs.

D. Devils Horns – the nation’s determination to overcome all obstacles.

E. Devils Tail – the oppression that all non- white people suffer.

F. Heart – the love of a nation.

G. Numbers 7 and 8 – the year of the founding of the sons and daughters.

Figure Series A.
People Symbols:
Figure Series B.

The following are symbols, and their meanings, used by the PEOPLES street gangs and affiliates to identify themselves.

A. Circle – 360 degrees of the knowledge that black people once ruled the world and will again.

B. Fire – represents the Black Nations true knowledge of being suppressed, and their inability to reach knowledge because of the heat created by the fire.

C. Darkness or the color black- represents the Black majority, not minority, of the world.

D. Cresant Moons – represents the splitting of the Black Nations into two parts, one of the West and one of the East.

E. Star – represents the eye of Allah, watching over his people.

F. Pyramid- represents the mystery of the construction of the pyramid, which was constructed by Black people. The three corners of the triangle represent physical, mental, and spiritual knowledge.

G. Sun – represents the rising of truth in the Black Nation. Used only by Vice Lords.

H. Hat- represents shelter.

I. Cane- represents the staff of strength.

J. Gloves – represents purity.

K. Latin Kings – tattoos/ symbols.

L. Five Pointed Crown – is a symbol of the Latin Kings. Note the upside down pitchforks, which is a sign of disrespect to the folk nation.

Figure Series B.

MEXIKANEMI (Texas Mexican Mafia)
Not to be confused with the Mexican Mafia (EME)
Figure Series C.

The Mexikanemi is the largest prison gang found in the Texas DOC. Mexikanemi translated means, “Free Mexicans,” are a relatively new organization, having formed in 1984. Better known as the Texas Mexican Mafia, it originally started out as a group of Texas DOC inmates trying to become more aware of their cultural heritage. As it grew, it rapidly changed from just being aware to becoming involved in extortion, narcotics trafficking and murder, both inside and outside the prison walls.

Figure Series C.

LA NUESTRA FAMILIA (NF)
Figure Series D.

The name translates to “Our Family,” originally formed in Soledad Prison, California in 1965, the membership is mostly rural, Northern California Hispanics. This very formal organizational structure is governed by a Board of Directors-type group, with a “Kill on sight” relationship with the Mexican Mafia (EME). This gang is heavily aligned with its Northern counterpart; the Nortenos gang, and is rapidly recruiting and growing in California, New Mexico and Arizona.

The Mexican Mafia (EME), not to be confused with Mexikanemi (Texas Mexican Mafia) is a far larger, more influential and feared prison gang and membership is evident within both federal and state prison systems. Organized in the1950’s in the California DOC at the Deuel Vocational Center, it’s made up mostly of urban Hispanic inmates from Southern California. This loosely structured military-like chain of command organization, is generally considered a “blood in-blood-out gang” and is usually at war with the Mexikanemi and the Luestra Familia, AKA: Nortenos or Northern structure.

Allied with the Aryan Brotherhood for drug introduction purposes, exchange of “hit” contracts and financial matters. To this end, the film “American Me,” reported to be fairly factual, is about the founding of this prison gang.

Figure Series D.

SKIN HEAD GANGS:
Figure Series E.

Skinhead groups have been formed, with varying levels of organizational cohesion, in every religion of the country. (See the map on the next page showing where skinheads have been operating). Skinheads in different parts of the country are slowly forming a loose national network, owing their geographical mobility and efforts of more established leaders (particularly Tom Metzger) to publicize their activities. Skinhead leaders from Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit and Dallas have helped facilitate the organizing of groups in other cities, such as Milwaukee, Memphis, Springfield, Missouri and Toronto.

At the same time, skinhead groups in some locations like Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have dropped from view in less than a year. In the case of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County, the arrest of Reich Skin Leader Michael Martin and his subsequent conviction helped result in the dissolution of the group. It appears that effective responses by law enforcement authorities to skinhead violence helps reduce their profile and level of authority, and activity.
Figure Series E.

CONCLUSION

Young people also join gangs to become members of something new, exciting and different. They perceive this change as good. They are willing to go along with whatever the gang does because they want new, exciting experiences. They experience guns and gang wars. They enjoy the thrill of the gang culture. There is no thrill in school or at home.

Where is the parent when the young person needs to feel acceptance? Young people join gangs for acceptance. They desire to become a part of something accepting, which offers them a reason for being. Gangs accept anyone who is willing to swear to the oath of the gang. They try to seduce new members with their strength as a “family.” The child will forsake his/her real family for the gang.

Gang membership is simply a way for some young people to meet the human needs for connection and self-esteem. They are not getting their needs met at home or school; so they turn to gangs to get those needs met. Schools do not provide experiences in which students can achieve success on their own. They do not meet the young person’s need for self-esteem. Parents are too busy working or they are too tired to meet the needs of their offspring, or in many cases, there are no parents.

Schools departmentalize students. They do not actively involve students in the teaching-learning process. Young people today are very diverse. They need their needs met. Gangs meet their needs.

Young people today are faced with more situations today, now than ever before. They have to make split second decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives. They chose gangs, because gangs are a comfort zone for them. They get caught up in the dynamics of gang existence. Those that have families forsake them for gangs, because gangs offer them something that the family does not.

For law enforcement to curtail the problem of gangs, they must first get at the problem of families. Various outreach programs can do this. A child’s life is at risk in this situation. Law enforcement agencies can not work alone, however. Without the assistance of the community, they have a difficult time of making a dent in the problem of gangs. Not all of a child’s needs will ever be completely met by home and school, but those needs are an important consideration. A child is the future generation. If he/she is allowed to succumb to the gang life, he/she will not live to become one of tomorrow’s leaders.

Law enforcement agencies should form task forces to curtail gang development. If children do not see gangs in a positive light they will be more inclined to say no to gang membership. It is of vital importance that programs such as GREAT be initiated in schools. Gangs need to be de-glamorized by the law enforcement agencies. They should have former gang members speak to young people about the serious consequences of gang involvement. They should use whatever scare tactics necessary to dissuade gang membership. They should show the results of gang membership, which is often death due to the violent nature of gang membership, and death is not a pretty picture. Children need a nurturing environment, but they also need an understanding of what gang membership means. Gangs are not a way out of a bad situation; they are, however, a way into an even worse situation. The police can not stop this phenomenon by themselves but they can be leaders in promoting the curtailing of the problem of gangs.

References

Agnew, Robert; Brezina, Timothy (1997, September), Relational problems with peers, gender, and delinquency, Youth & Society, v29 n1 pp. 84(28).

Brogan, Thomas C. (1995, June 1), Book reviews, Perspectives on Political Science, Vol. 24, pp. 186.

Danitz, Tiffany (1998, July 6), Keeping kids out of gangs, (Nation: Fighting Crime), Insight on the News, v14 n25 pp. 14(2).

Dukes, Richard L.; Valentine, Jennifer (1998, July), Gang membership and bias against young people who break the law, The Social Science Journal, v35 n3 pp. 347(14).

Lounsbury, John H. (1996, March 13), Please, not another program. (special education programs for problem youth), (Special Section: Young Adolescents At Risk)., The Clearing House, Vol. 69, pp. 211(3).

Warr, Mark (1993, September), Parents, peers, and delinquency, Social Forces, v72 n1 pp. 247(18).

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