The position/status that one holds in the gang seems to influence the individual’s behavior significantly. Huff (1998) for instance mentions that gang leaders are more likely to be engaged in more serious criminal behaviors. Gang leaders are not only likely to be involved in a proportionately high numbers of crimes but the crimes are also more offensive. Most gang leaders will be involved in such violent crimes as domestic violence, murder and illicit drug trade. Being labeled as ‘tough’ by fellow gang members influences one to act in a tough manner in order to retain the status or power associated with the toughness.
Unfortunately, the toughness has to be won by being engaged in more grievous crimes. Equally, a gang member who is perceived by other members as ‘soft’ is likely to feel pressurized to act tough so as to equal the other members. This endeavor involves a change of behavior specifically indulging in more and serious antisocial behaviors. In increase in the number of antisocial behaviors among gang members compared to non-gang members is consistently reported thus indicating an influence of gang on individual behavior.
Arfaniarromo (2001) highlights a high likelihood of school dropout cases among other antisocial behaviors among gang members than in non-gang members. Arfaniarromo specifically investigates the Latino population in the U. S. and identifies that there are up to 40 percent of the urban Latino population who are gang members. The Latino gang members are termed by many people in the general population as not only sociopathic but also psychopathic. The issue of society expectation as well as expectation from within the gang groups is raised in this case.
Since the Latino gang members have been associated with school drop out, involvement in criminal behaviors and other delinquent behaviors, the gang members seem to be compelled by these pressures and they end up engaging in the expected behaviors. The Latino gang members are made to feel that without engaging in the criminal and antisocial behaviors, they have not attained the expected norms. Conclusion A gang is a group that undoubtedly has influence on individual behavior. This is in consideration that a gang has its own culture and its membership requires conformation to the demands and expectations of the gang.
These expectations may come from within individual, the gang or the society at large. The erosion of sense of individuality causes gang members to feel and acct less accountably hence they indulge in antisocial behaviors more often. Loyalty and allegiance to the gang influences the individual to compromise to the demands and expectations of the gang. Research has shown that gang membership influences individuals to engage in criminal activities among other antisocial behaviors associated with gangs.
Members of a gang show higher rates and severity in delinquent behaviors such as illicit drug business, robbery, murder and violence in general compared to non-gang members. Although the mechanism of influence is not explored in this paper, there is no doubt that an individual’s behavior is influenced by gang membership. References Arfaniarromo, A. (2001). Toward a Psychosocial and Sociocultural Understanding of Achievement Motivation among Latino Gang Members in U. S. Schools. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 28(3): 123. Web. 28, April 2010. Questia. com. Battin-Pearson, S.
R. , Thornberry, T. P. , Hawkins, J. D. and Krohn, M. D. (1998). Gang membership, delinquent peers, and delinquent behavior. Criminology 36(1): 93–115. Decker, S. H. (2000). Addressing key features of gang membership: Measuring the involvement of young members. Journal of Criminal Justice, 28(6): 473-482. DeLisi, M. and Conis, P. J. (2007). Violent offenders: theory, research, public policy, and practice. ISBN:076375479X, 9780763754792. Jones & Bartlett Learning. GGIA. (2010). Is your child in a gang? Retrieved 28, April 2010 from http://ggia. net/involvement. htm