CRJ301 Week 2 Assignment
Youth Gang Activity
According to the information provided by the Juvenile Court Statistics 2010, there has been an increase in the caseloads involving the youth between the years 1985 to 2010. These caseloads involve offences to the person, offences to property, drug offences and public order. The following chart shows a comparison of the offences committed by females and males in the year 2010 alone.
According to juvenile justice factsheet, however, there was a substantial decrease in the rate of crime by the year 2010 as compared to the earlier years but the survey conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations showed that the rate at which gang were building up for the purposes of committing crime was increasing. The survey showed that the gangs were mostly found in highly populated cities and the criminals were reluctant to migrate to less populated areas. This is possibly because in the highly populated areas, the gangs were likely to find better hide-outs than in less populated areas and therefore it was easier not to be arrested by law enforcement officers while in the more populated areas than in less populated areas.
According to the survey, the most prevalent crime committed by these gangs was homicides and these homicides were committed by the youth in the big crimes. There was a high rate of these homicides in such places as Chicago and Los Angeles. Most of the research conducted between the years 1996 to 2010 characterized the problem as not changing at all. In a nut shell, the crimes continued increasing steadily as the population of these cities increased. There was no decline in the rate at which these homicides were being committed.
The research however showed substantial migrations among the gangs from one town to the other. Whereas the media depicted a less substantial rate at which such gangs were migrating from one town to the other, the FBI suggested some reasons as to why the gangs were migrating from one city to the other at a higher rate towards the year 2010 as compared to the other years. One of the reasons advanced by the FBI include the fact the migration was for illegitimate reasons for example some gangs could migrate to another town to continue their illegal drug trade. This could be attributed to the fact that in the previous town, the gangs had been arrested by law enforcement officers and now they decide to seek hide outs in another town where they could continue selling their drugs to less suspecting citizens. The other reason advanced by the FBI was that such migrations were for “social” reasons. This meant that the gang members could migrate to another town to join their families.
The chart below shows the prevalence of gangs between the years 1996 and 2010
This chart shows a rather unstable crime rate by gangs. This is because at times there is a decline in the crime rate by the gangs and at other times the crime rate increases. Such intermittent trend can be attributed to the fact that law enforcement officers are constantly on the look-out for these gangs and when some of the criminals, the crime rate declines. The fact that the gangs are constantly migrating from one town to another is also a reason to attribute the intermittent rate at which the crime is committed to. When the gangs migrate to another town, the rate at which the crime is committed declines at the previous town and increases at the town they have migrated to. The FBI has attributed all this crime to the youth gangs and most of the youth that are committing these homicides are below the age of 20 years old.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, however, there is a correlation between these hangs and the town size of the town that they conduct their criminal activities. According to the Bureau, the most prevalent crimes committed by the youth are assault, aggravated assault, burglary, homicides, crime against property and violence crimes. The bureau presents some statistics concerning sexual violence crimes and argues that there has been a substantial decline in the rate at which attempted rape crime is committed from the year 19996 to the year 2010. There has however been an increase in the rate at which actual rape crimes are committed. Again, these crimes are committed by youth falling under the age bracket of under 20 years.
The FBI reports for the year 2013 indicate that the number of violent crimes brought to the attention of the law enforcement officers as compared with the same reports brought to the attention of the law enforcement officers in the year 2012. The bureau has reported a 5.4% decline in the rate at which violent crimes have been committed by youth gangs over the last one year but insists that these statistics are just preliminary and are subject to change over time.
The rate at which property crimes were committed by youth gangs also decreased substantially according to the FBI Uniform Reporting program and the bureau attributes this to increased surveillance by the law enforcement officers. Some of the offences against property include larceny, robbery, robbery with violence and simple theft. The bureau reports that by the end of the year 2013, there had been a substantial decline in the rate at which youth gangs committed these crimes. This was not the case in the year 2012 and the years before.
According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, homicides committed by youth gangs between the years 1985 to 2010 varied substantially. In some years, the crimes increased while in other years the crimes increased. There are those years that the rates at which the crimes were committed remained stable and this could be attributed to the fact that law enforcement officers had been in those years in constant look-out of the gangs. The decline could also be attributed to the fact that the gangs have been migrating from town to town and this made it hard for the law enforcement officers to completely contain them.
The following table shows the varied rates at which these gangs committed the crimes between the years 1985 to 2010, as provided by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
The law enforcement officers have attributed this trend of increase and sudden decline in the rate at which the homicides are committed by youth gangs to such factors as drug abuse and drug related crimes because when the youth engage themselves in drugs they are likely to be negatively influenced by the same to engage themselves in crime. To curb this behavior therefore, the law enforcement officers must first fight drug abuse which is the most immediate cause of these crimes. The other reason as to why these homicides have not been contained by the law enforcement officers is because of varying economic conditions across the American population. In areas where the people get low income, the homicides are more prevalent as compared with those areas where the income of the people is higher. Another cause of variation in the statistics is the existence or absence of community-based strategies and strategies that aim at the problem the law enforcement officers must have these strategies in order to effectively curb the menace.
This paper suggests some measures that the law enforcement officers can take to address youth gangs. First of all, the measures must be deterrent for other youth gangs that are likely to be formed. The law enforcement officers must also have a strategy to identify the groups that perpetrate the crimes and lastly, the officers must have incentives for proper communication with the local people who will in turn assist them in identifying the groups.
National Criminal Justice Reference Service. (2012). Youth Violence Statistics, available at https://www.ncjrs.gov/yviolence/statistics.html.
Bureau of Justice Statistics. (n.d.). available at http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=3.
FBI-Uniform Crime Reports. (n.d.). available at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/ucr.
Howell, J. R. (2012). Highlights of the 2010 National Youth Gang Survey. Juvenile Justice Fact Sheet .