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Youth Gangs

Powerful Essays
There is a steady increase in organized crime recently and a rising exploitation of children being recruited into youth gangs. Considering the increasing number of youth involved in gangs, how does the lifestyle of a young gang member differ from that of a child who lives a normal life as a law-abiding citizen? To answer the question, this paper will use Adam Lusher’s article, Gangs Recruiting Children as Young as 12 as Class A Drug Dealers, in part with other sources to gain deeper insight to the following: defining organized crime, explaining why children join youth gangs, the structure of gangs and experiences one goes through, how we can move forward to prevent the increase of children in gangs, and how we can improve the system. To briefly…show more content…
Similarly, another approach is by Thomas Clement who proposes that a youth gang is either formal or informal, with a minimum of three members, and have some name or symbol that is identifiable. It is also provided that the gang is ongoing whereby members are participating on a regular basis in criminal activity (Clements and Akiyama 2011). Gathering from the three different sources, we can come to a consensus that a gang consists of three members or more, working through illegitimate means to gain some type of profit. From this general definition of a gang, we can begin to understand motives behind youths joining gangs. The factors of motivation can be interrelated and classified using two causal dimensions, poverty or limited access to social opportunities, and social disorganization, such as lack of integration of key social institutions (Spergel 1995). Additionally, gangs provide "a certain degree of physical protection, social support,…show more content…
Once again, Huack and Peterke defines structured group in terms of a group formed for an immediate commission of an offence. It does not need formally defined roles for its members, though there is a continuity of its membership or a developed structure (Huack and Peterke 2010). To expand, in terms of membership, there are usually three general levels of membership: the active regular member, the hard-core members or the original gangsters, and the wannabe members. The regular member takes up for almost half of the gang and they wear gang-related clothing, associate with other members and they represent the gang overall. The hard-core members make up around twenty percent of the gang and they represent the leadership in the group. Additionally, they would take part in the distribution of narcotic distribution and violent gang activities. As for the wannabe members, who are less than ten percent of the whole gang, hang out with the gang and are constantly trying to prove their allegiance whereby they are then often asked to prove themselves by committing crimes (Clements and Akiyama 2011). Gang leaders can also build their organization in several ways such as claiming turf, using intimidation then offering protection, or lure in susceptible youth based on reputation
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