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12/3/13 The Grip of Gangs on Low Income Children Gangs are fully entrenched in many suburban communities across the nation. Gangs are a dangerous and a plague that has infected almost every city in the United States. Many notable gangs such as the Chicago-based Gangster Disciples, Black Peace Stones, and Latin Kings are the root of this epidemic. At this time gang activity was largely confined to urban areas, which raises a huge problem with the recruitment of the youth of this nation into gangs littered with murders and drug dealers.

This problem has gone on for decades and the real issue isn’t the gang iolence the real issue is the recruiting of children from low income families into these gangs. Kids from low income communities feel like they have no way out of the gang because of the gripping reins of socioeconomics holding them back. We are so disgusted when we hear about children in Africa that are forced to hold a gun and go to war, but that is what is happening here on American soil. This should be a top priority among citizens to stop this recruitment of children into gang warfare.

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Throughout the 1970s urban gangs became better organized and began to xpand their activities into surrounding low income communities. This expansion Just makes gangs more of a danger to low income kids. Egley and Howell found out that “There were approximately 28,100 active gangs across 3,500 Jurisdictions in 2009 according to law enforcement estimates. This represents an increase of more than 20 percent in both indicators since 2002 (Egley and Howell, 2011). These figures are exactly why there needs to be something done about the recruiting of low income kids into gangs.

Obviously the problem is only getting worse and will continue to get worse unless something is done about it. The gang members who migrated from urban areas often formed new, neighborhood-based local gangs. These gangs actually targeted kids young and from low income families to gain their trust at an early age. Local gangs generally controlled their territories through violence and intimidation, which in some cases was carried out by a young member of the gang so if they got caught they would be tried in court as a minor.

In addition, they sought to increase their size by recruiting new members, who were typically from single- parent, low-income households and who had a limited education. During the 1980s larger urban gangs that engaged in drug trafficking began to expand their drug distribution which introduced harmful drugs to kids. The larger gangs were motivated to move into adjoining communities to generate additional income. Langton pointed out that “Being a member of a gang increases the likelihood of involvement in criminal activity and violent offending and being a direct or indirect victim of violent crime.

Gang activity has been documented extensively to include the full range of violent and property offending, as well as drug distribution, weapons rafficking, prostitution, extortion, and other economic crimes to finance the gang” (Langton, 2010). This means that if young kids are recruited into a gang they are far more likely to be associated with or take place in a violent crime that can ruin their lives forever. Large urban gangs generated millions of dollars from trafficking new younger members and to force smaller local gangs to either disband or align with them.

These problems are ongoing and little is being done to resolve these issues. Along with the expansion and the drug trafficking of the gangs many kids aren’t ven getting help from their parents. This could be because their parents are already in the gang or because the parents have thrown them out for being in the gang. Many kids look for a way out through their parents but even the people that are on this earth to protect them sometimes can’t break the hold of the gangs for these kids.

Some parents are Just in denial about their kids activity in the gangs. “Some of the parents I interviewed denied their children were “gang members. ” Instead, their children were perceived of as “acting out” or “Just being kids” anything to deny heir children were involved in gang activity. I think this is the result of some parents not wanting to admit to themselves that their parenting skills have failed and their child has become a serious problem” (Carlie). This is actually very common in low income houses for parents to do.

This may be another reason that kids Join gangs, because they don’t think that they have a family that they can rely on so they walk right into the arms of the gang. Many people may think that gang members are a lost cause and that we shouldn’t be fighting an uphill battle. These kids do have potential and the only reason they tay with the gang is because they are scared to leave. These kids are in an illegal drug and gun environment that is unsafe and restricts progress for these children.

These kids don’t have the same amount of opportunities as high income kids and that is not right. They should have the same chances to change their future as a child who has parents with more money. According to “No More Children Left Behind Bars” the average monthly salary for a gang member is $134 that isnt even enough to feed yourself let alone your child, so we can’t blame the child for the selfishness of their arents It isn’t their fault, they were born into it and now they are stuck and they need someone to help but no one is stepping up to the plate.

There is obviously a huge problem with the gangs’ recruitment of low income children into their ranks. First of all there is the expansion of gangs from one city to the next, if this problem will ever be resolved it has to stop getting worse. Then there is the drug trafficking and the violent crimes that are associated with gangs which is not a healthy environment for kids that are growing up. Just remember even though hey might look like a lost cause on the outside it doesn’t mean for a second that they are any less deserving of the chances that more fortunate kids get handed to them.

These kids need help from the citizens of the good U. S. of A, but someone needs to set the ball rolling before anything can change. Carlie Michael K. Ph. D. Into The Abyss: A Personal Journey into the World of Street Gangs Missouri State University, 2002. Web. Egley, A. , Jr. , and Howell, J. C. 2011. Highlights of the 2009 National Youth Gang Survey. Fact Sheet. Washington, D. C. : U. S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Evidence Integration: Gangs” Crimesolutions. gov Research at the Office of Justice Programs (OJP). National Institute of Justice, Web. 26 November 2013. Langton, L. 2010. Census of Law Enforcement Gang Units, 2007: Gang Units in Large Local Law Enforcement Agencies. Washington, D. C. : U. S. Department of Justice. Bureau of Justice Statistics. “No More Children Left Behind Bars” CharlesHamiltonHouston. org The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice. Harvard Law School, March 6, 2008 Web. 26 November 2013

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