America's Reluctance To Deal With Gangs And Gang Crime

2547 words - 10 pages

The United States of America faces a highly complex problem that
is threatening to destroy the fabric of its unique urban society. This
problem has been developing for many years and has become entwined
into the core of American society to such a point where it has
virtually become accepted as the norm to the millions of people whose
quality of life has been greatly reduced by it. The problem in its
most simple form is crime, however, this is evident as a problem that
demands improvement in nearly every country throughout the world, so
this essay will look closely at the crime problem that has become
synonymous with modern day urban America - gang crime.

To fully understand the detrimental impacts of gang related crime upon
the United States one must first have a good knowledge of the meaning
and definition of a gang and the rise of gang crime through American
urban history. The Oxford English dictionary states that a gang is 'a
set of workmen, slaves or prisoners; set of associates, especially for
criminal purposes'. This definition in the broadest terms indicates
that a gang is a group of people working or going about together,
however, when defining the term gang in relation to crime it is
important to note the difficulty in reaching an overall
classification.

Different groups such as the police, media and government can use the
word gang in various ways that enable them to come to their own
conclusions that suit their own needs. For example the media may well
broaden the concept of a gang to enhance news stories that will then
read more dramatic and newsworthy. Possibly the most useful definition
of a gang is that of Miller (1980) whose description of a youth gang
sums up the thought behind these groups of people.

"A youth gang is a self formed association of peers, bound together by
mutual interests, with identifiable leadership, well developed lines
of authority, and other organisational features, who act in concert to
achieve a specific purpose or purposes which generally include the
conduct of illegal activity and control over a particular territory,
facility, or type of enterprise." Miller, W.B (1980) Gangs in America
pg:121

The development of the gang crime story in urban American history has
seen many different chapters that whilst all varying in terms of
location, scale and personnel involved, are all brought on by the same
fallacies of urbanization. The modern settlement system of the United
States of America has developed over the last 400 years from the early
European pioneers initially based on the east coast. The pioneers were
the catalyst of the unparalleled emergence of small towns, some of
which were eventually to grow into today's metropolitan areas. As the
frontier reached further into the western areas of America more
settlements began to...

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