Urban Gangs Research Paper

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GANG INFLUENCE ON LOCAL BUSINESSES
Urban cities often contain areas with high amounts of poverty, and many members of these neighborhoods struggle to find employment and financially support their family. Most of the time, the parents of these families neglect and abuse their children. Desperate for acceptance, these children turn to gangs during their adolescence to find belonging. Once grown up, the kids often mimic the behavior of their parents and attempt to raise a child of their own without the proper finances. As a result, the cycle of unfulfilled potential continues, primarily caused by the street gangs. Notably, adolescents in gangs have fewer opportunities available to them, mostly due to repeated incarceration and criminal felonies.
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Dr. Robert M. Gordon, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University, titles them ‘Criminal Business Organizations’. When comparing these groups to street gangs, Gordon notes that “organized groups exhibit a formal structure and a high degree of sophistication. Comprised primarily of adults, including older adults, they engage in criminal activity for economic reasons” (Gordon 48). Unlike street gangs, they have developed past the need for acceptance and focus on financial needs. Members use extortion as a constant source of income for themselves, with some members “earning $2,500 per week up to $30,000 per month” (Gordon 52). In other words, their participation in illegal activities benefits them enough to continue their behavior. Notably, most criminal business organizations derive from street gangs, the members already have the mentality to prey on weak targets. Through their collective success, many of these organizations seek new members to increase their earnings. By targeting naive adolescents from broken families, the organizations can rapidly gain popularity with delinquent youth from many areas. Naturally, the larger gang increases the amount of criminal activity towards…show more content…
One such example is the Salvadoran gang, Mara Salvatrucha. The gang started to protect Salvadorans from nearby Mexican gangs preexisting in the area. However, as the gang spread to many cities throughout the Americas, they needed finances to keep bailing members out of jail, keep cartels running, and dividing money amongst members. Sonja Wolf, a street gang and drug policy researcher with a PhD in International politics, dubbed Mara Salvatrucha “the most dangerous gang in the Americas” in her research paper concerning the gang’s activities. She then goes into detail on their violent extortion processes by explaining that their gang’s “Youth have moved from levying minor taxes in their territories to running extensive extortion rackets. Shopkeepers… must comply with the requests. To enforce extortion demands, gang members have killed hundreds” (Wolf 78). By using violence to receive money, businesses often fear Mara Salvatrucha’s ultimate power over them. Therefore, the employees give up their money to the organization rather than have it taken by force. This overwhelming power over individuals deters job applicants to approach stores located in gang-heavy communities, leaving them unemployed. In addition, without workers, the businesses have a larger chance of becoming

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