Because of the increasing number, geographical expansion, and demographic changes of the menace of street gangs from the 1990s, there has been a consistent call for a policy guideline on the best way that could be used to deal with the gang challenge. Mostly, the gang problem is an urban problem, and is usually a protection unit for poor minority youths in the inner city. By mid 1990s, the age for gang members was increasing and so was the ethnic diversity. Some of the gang members spread across the country. Law enforcement attempt to deal with the gang problem mostly did not succeed as the gang culture was transforming into a society that was international, coordinated, and organized. The enduring nature of street gangs, as well as their presence in the streets continued to pose a challenge for the ordinary American as well as the security departments ( McGloin, 2013).
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the total number of gang members in 2009 was one million compared to 750,000 in 2000. Forty percent of gang members are below the age 18 while 86 percent of American cities have reported gang activities. Demographically, 31 % of gang members are Blacks, 41% Hispanic, 13 % White and 7% percent Asian. For this reason, it would be accurate to say that the gang problem is an American problem. Because of this, there is a need to find an American solution for the problem. In this paper, we grapple with some of the solutions that could alleviate the problem.
Existing research has done very little in highlighting concrete solutions towards the problem of gang violence. However, researches undertaken continue to show that full-fledged gang membership is a gradual process and there are different problems of affiliation. Stronger affiliation with a gang is directly indicative of higher level of criminal behavior. In short, it is accurate to admit that based on previous research, gang problem is a difficult to crack down on. However, should this be the reason to lose hope?
Scholars, law enforcement, and ordinary citizens admit that gangs have a damaging effect on the community and its residents. Gangs increase violence courtesy of gun sales, drug sales, car theft as well a general drop in the quality of life thanks to high rate of school dropout. While the effect of gang activities is not necessarily new to law enforcement, tackling gang violence and incriminating suspects requires value-added policing techniques. First, even as law enforcement engages in problem oriented policing for gang violence, there should be emphasis in community policing. Members of gang groups must be understood from the background such as family, neighborhood, psychological problems as well as lack of opportunity.
First method of addressing gang violence in the United States is through prevention. Prevention method usually aims at targeting the problem from the youths that are more prone to becoming members of a gang group. Prevention methods should be engineered towards school children, improving school districts and educating the children on the need for better jobs and way of life. Prevention methods such as educating children at younger age are broad program that cripples gangs from gaining new members at a very lower level.
Another method would be emphasizing character education through policies such as Gang Resistance Education and Training. The aim of such programs is selling anti- gang education for teenagers in high risk gang areas. By emphasizing character education, kids are prevented from being delinquent and subsequently avoiding activities that associate them with gang activities. While Great programs are generally successful in the short term, they usually have a challenge once the young adults graduate from school and face the realization that they did not do very well in school or have no job. This is why a stronger college education would be helpful towards the acquisition of important skills that actually generate income in a easy and well managed way.
Expected Results from the Modeled solution
While it is not accurate to assert that gang problem will just go away with an education programs that develops skills while improving character of the inner city youths, it would not be the panacea of the gang problem in the United States. Other factors such as the state of the economy, individual desires, as well as the external factors will also do a good job in the realization or underachievement of the goals set.
Gang culure will also be alienated if the United States reignites the debate on morals. Scholars such as Eastin (2003) found out that single motherhood has detrimental effects on the life of children regardless of race. Dornbusch study pointed out that fatherlessness is responsible for increasing delinquency, drug use, psychiatric problems, early sexual activity, as well as school dropout. According to him, almost very socio-pathological issue correlates more strongly to fatherlessness than any other single factor. He validates his argument by saying that majority of inmates, juvenile delinquents, high school drop outs, pregnant children come from families that were had a single mother or had no known or runaway father. The connection between fatherlessness and crime is so strong that it erases the relationships between race and crime. Dornbusch study illustrates that fatherlessness is color blind and that virtually every major societal criminal issues traces back to fatherlessness. Because of this argument, it would be prudent to argue that if the traditional set up of the family can be achieved, less and less children will be prone to gangs.
The action plan for my solution to gang violence is simple. The police authority of the local institutions, the political leaders, parents, as well as all the stakeholders has a stake in this. If the debate is started on the need for stronger character development at the school districts, the teachers will spend a considerable amount of time in class training children to be employable. With time, the employability will lead into success as many of the youth’s self esteem will go up. The plan will not cost so much money; the only thing it will cost is time and commitment as well as dedication. Perhaps one limitation for my plan is the time factor. For the plan to be super-effective there will be a great deal of involvement from the stakeholders, debates, and writing of models that will work. This will take much time.
I believe that the gang menace in the streets of the United States is a challenge that affects every facet of the United States culture. It is the responsibility of every American citizen to be involved in th prevention of the gang culture. Reforming our educational programs to involve character development and focus on job related training will do much better that over emplacing imprisonment and incarceration.
Eastin, F. J. "). Impact of Absent Father-Figures On Make Subjects And the Correlation to Juvenile Deliquency: Findings and Implication." Diss. University of North Texas, Dallas)., n.d. Doctoral Dissertation. Web.
FBI. "Gang Statistics." Statistic Brain RSS. N.p., 28 Apr. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
McGloin, Ean. "Str Eet Gangs and Inter v Entions: Inno Va Tiv E Pr Oblem Solving with Netw or K Anal Ysi S." U.S Department of Justice. N.p., 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.