Main Causes Of Gang Violence

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Youth violence in school continues to be a significant issue in the United States and research has repeatedly acknowledged being in a gang as one of the main causes of the violence in youths (Egley, Howell, & Harris, 2014; Huizinga & Lovegrove, 2009; Miller, 2001; Snyder & Sickmund, 2006). Youth violence can range from bullying, pushing/shoving, or emotional harm to gang violence or assault, with or without a weapon (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). Research shows that in recent years, gang activity has been steadily growing—outward from larger cities (Egley, Howell, & Harris, 2014)—and about 8 percent of the youths, who surveyed for the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, had belonged to a gang at some point between the…show more content…
Individual risk factors are personal issues that could increase the likelihood of a young person joining a gang, which corresponds to the individual youth violence factors. Researchers noticed four recurrences that can influence younger persons to join a gang. The first issue is antisocial behavior. Antisocial behavior can involve delinquent/aggressive behavior and violence; which, in turn, can then push an individual to join a gang (Lahey et al. 1999; Thornberry et al., 2003). Early signs of drug and alcohol abuse can also increase the likelihood an individual joins a gang, especially if the abuse is widespread (Huizinga & Lovegrove, 2009; Thornberry et al., 2003). The third reoccurrence is mental health problems, which can include conduct disorder, depression, or hyperactivity (Howell & Egley, 2005). Lastly, victimization can influence an individual to join a gang (Thornberry et al., 2003). Thornberry et al. discovered, primarily in men, that individuals who have experienced negative events in their lives, such as being victimized, could be more susceptible in joining a gang…show more content…
Weak family ties, single parent households, multiple transitions within a family, and poverty/financial stress are all potential influences for youths to join a gang (Howell & Egley, 2005). Family risk factors can also include parents refusing to give their children the proper education or lack of discipline at home (Howell & Egley, 2005). Family members that are in gangs can also influence their children to join a gang themselves (Herrenkohl et al. 2010; Lahey et al. 1999).
Risk Factors Related to School. Thornberry et al. did a study and concluded that poor math scores for males and a student’s weak attachment to his or her teacher are both strong indicators that he or she will join a gang (2003). Researchers also said that youths who feel unsafe at school are also more likely to join a gang—for protection (Curry, Decker, and Egley, 2002; Decker & Curry, 2000). Schools that have a high teacher to student ration or schools that have poor academic quality can also increase the likelihood of a youth joining a gang (Curry, Decker, and Egley, 2002; Decker & Curry,
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