Gangs started their history in late 18th century when the first groups started to form. Mainly these groups started to form among the white immigrants; mainly they were English, Irish and German. However, the boom of gang formations is dated in 1820 in New York City.
The second wave of gangs’ formation started in the period of 1860-1920, when new immigrants started to settle down in USA. The first ones were Chinese, who formed highly structured gangs, which still exist in US. However, not only Chinese people started forming their own gangs. Therefore, there were many other immigrants from Europe.
The third and most powerful wave started from year 1930, when gangs were even more intensively forming. It is worth to mention that the gangs occupied some of New York City’s districts, such as East Harlem, Brooklyn and Bronx.
The new massive wave of gangs’ formation began when Latinos immigrated in the USA. Mainly, they were poor families, which tried to escape their countries and to start a new life in America.
At the same time Chicago also was a place where gangs formed. The immigrants from the Eastern Europe like in New York City formed the first gangs. Moreover, at that time (1920) was formed one of the most famous gangs in the USA – Al Capone gang. This gang was famous because it consisted of criminals, rumrunners and people, who had huge problems with the law and police.
Starting from 1940 started to form the gangs according to the race or nationality belongingness. In 1960 Chicago’s government and police had a lot of problems with these gangs and their violence.
One of the reasons why the crime rate has reached its peak was the fact that the gun possession and acquisition among gang members was extremely high. The statistics from the
1993 research shows that at least 83% of the inmates possessed guns. These facts may not be surprising since it is still considered to be one of the most common issues in the United States.
Pretty much the same happened in the other states in the US. The power and violence of the gangs was growing each day, which became a huge and dangerous issue.
The group’s Activities, Delinquency and Illegal Behavior
Actus reus is expressed in the creation of a stable armed group (gang), a leadership group, participating in the gang, as well as participation in attacks committed by the gang. These manifestations are relatively independent of banditry, and the commission of any of the above actions implies crime.
Creating a gang, as a form of banditry in the jurisprudence is quite rare, because the said activity is reflected in the preparatory activities for the attack, the external control, which is very difficult. The formation of a gang is followed by any action that results in the formation of a stable armed group organized for the purpose of attacking citizens or organizations. Actions that are aimed at the creation of the gang are diverse in nature, but in each case the courts are obliged to sentence to indicate what exactly caused these actions. A statement forming an armed gang with the specific evidence must always be preceded by evidence to substantiate the imputation of the gang members and leaders of specific attacks.
For liability for banditry only being part of a gang is enough, i.e. the fact of joining it and performing certain actions in the interests of the gang, even if a person was not directly involved in the attacks, may lead to a prison sentence. Participation in a gang, in particular, refers to: financing, provision of weapons, transportation, provision of facilities for meetings, concealment of property obtained by criminal means to attract new members, etc.
On the subjective side of the composition of banditry lies the guilt in the form of direct intent. Direct intent when participating in an armed gang involves the fact of belonging to an armed gang and the desire to be a member. If a person is found guilty in participating in the attack being unaware that the attack was carried out by an armed gang, the responsibility in this case is to advance for a crime that was actually committed by them, such as for robbery, murder for gain and others.
Biological, Psychological or Sociological Theories that Support the Subculture’s Existence
Cognition and developmental factors are also one of the key factors that affect on joining the gang or a certain subculture. Mainly, people, who join the gangs, are not able to learn in the schools properly or they do not have enough money to go to the University and get the degree.
Moreover, personal characteristics have a great meaning at this point. Some people even if they are poor or do not have a chance to study will never join the gangs because it is against their nature or moral borders, however, for some people it would be a pretty ordinary and normal choice.
The other important role in the individual’s formation is lying on the parents’ shoulders. Parents, who do not give enough love to their children risk to raise a child who would become a victim of the gang because he or she does not know what is good and bad for his or her life. The abuse, neglect behavior towards a child is one of the key factors for a person to join a gang because a human cannot be alone in this world. All human beings need someone to support them.
Sociological factors dictate person’s behavior and reactions on the world that surrounds a person. Moreover, this means that each person has his or her own background such as mother language, traditions, nationality, religion, gender, ethnicity and many other factors that affect the opinions and views of a certain human. For example, Muslims are raised in a very strict environment and most of them are very religious. If something goes wrong, for example, within the family – a child and his parents, a person may understand the values such as religion and traditions in a very pervert way of perception. He can hate people, who belong to the other religions, and it can become a starting point for showing the violence and aggressive attitude towards the world.
It is very important for a person in which condition he or she was raised, what was surrounding them because all these factors may affect on the perception of what is good or bad, what is right or wrong.
People, by their nature, tend to copy the behavior or values of those, who are next to them. This is one of the major reasons why all of us still have their own family traditions, religion belongingness and values.
Gender is also one of the key factors, which may affect person’s will to join the gang. Men, by their nature, tend to be strong, brave, and some of them can show their importance only through the violence and respect of other gang’s leaders or members. Women tend to find those, who will love them and take care of them, however, if a girl does not get enough love and care in the family, she will try to find it somewhere else. So, it is dangerous for both genders, both can become the victims and members of a criminal gang. However, according to their gender belongingness, women and men will be looking for various and different reasons to join the gang.
If we talk about biological factors, we can base on genes, neurons in the brain, role of hormones. In theory, we can believe that genes mean a lot in the individual’s formation, so children can have a lot of similarities with their parents, and it can cause that a child can repeat a destiny of a parent. For example, if a child was born in a family, where violence and rude attitude towards women was a common things, a child would feel that violence and aggression can be shown to other people in order to get the desired result, as well as, this child might feel that it is normal to abuse women because it was a common issue in his or her family.
Hormones also have a big affection of a person. The lack of a certain range of hormones in the organism can cause many health problems, however, health is not the only area where one can suffer. The mentality can suffer from the lack of hormones. Sometimes hormones may even affect on a person’s perception of his gender belongingness.
Society’s Response to the Subculture and Prevention Recommendations
Parents have to comprehend that joining a gang is not a very high if certain precautions are followed. Parents do not have to make a mistake by prohibiting their children to spend time outside. It is important to know where the child is, however, forbidding spending their free time doing things they like may cause serious consequences. One of the ideas how to prevent a child from joining a gang is to interest children in extracurricular activities, for example, art schools, athletic courses or community organizations.
It is important to help a child to find his place in life, to understand his interests and desires, to give the opportunity to develop his personality.
Psychologists recommend meeting the friends’ parents or relatives to have a better comprehension of who surrounds the child. Moreover, It is good to explain a child how dangerous gangs are and their criminal behavior.
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