Most residents in the United States live in or around a city that has experienced youth gang activity since the middle of 1990s, and even earlier periods in a number of cities. As I distressingly observed, these gang members carry out drugs, weapons, violence, and property offenses at a much higher rates than those adolescents who are not gang members.
Despite the fact that there are thousands of programs continuously being implemented that address gang problems, yet the issue that constantly concerns me is the reason behind gang involvement of adolescents. Causes of Gang Membership Studies revealed that the most dysfunctional adolescents are the ones most expected to join gangs. These are adolescents who are on a course of worsening antisocial behavior, those who use drugs and who are involved in other misbehavior (Wyrick, & Howell, 2004).
Family factor also exposed adolescents to the risk of gang membership. These family risk factors include family members’ gang involvement, child neglect or abuse, family poverty, and family structure (Wyrick, & Howell, 2004). Likewise, school risk factors include low school achievement and feeling unsafe at school and, needless to mention, association with peers who carry out misbehavior is also one of the strongest risk factors for gang membership.
Finally, longitudinal studies have identified that the strongest community risk factors for gang membership are neighborhood disorganization, area poverty, low levels of neighborhood integration, low neighborhood attachment, unsafe feeling in the neighborhood, the presence of many troubled youths, and accessibility of drugs. Conclusion At present, different promising programs are available that entice adolescents to give up their gang membership. These include job placement and vocational training for gang members to help them get descent jobs, alternative education programs to teach these adolescents basic job skills, etc.
Nevertheless, in order to combat the spread and rise of gangs in our respective communities, I believe that every community groups and social institutions must sympathetically work together in effectively implementing the aforesaid programs. Reference Wyrick, P. A. , & Howell, J. C. (2004, September). Strategic Risk-Based Response to Youth Gangs. National Criminal Justice Reference Service. Retrieved March 25, 2009, from http://www. ncjrs. gov/html/ojjdp/203555/jj3. html