The Impact of Gangs To be in a gangs, is to be your life. Gangs are lifestyle that are hard to get out of. They control every aspect of your life and most cases, the only way out is through death. Throughout this paper, the topics that will be addressed are kids in gangs, female gangs and gang related crimes among other topics to show how the gang culture has infiltrated every aspect of life. As quoted in Adolescent Gang Involvement, a gang by definition is ” any durable, street-oriented youth group whose identity includes involvement in illegal activities.” Since the 90’s, most cities in america have seen a range of 2% – 37% in children joining gangs. For most kids, joining a gang is protection and a way to look cool but mostly, it’s for a sense of community. Joining a gang can do more harm than good. In order to join one, most times you have to be “jumped in”, offering your loyalty. If you don’t, you can expect a severe punishment. As expected, children in gangs experience more violence than the average kid does. They are also at more risk for STD’s and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. According to the Interactional Theory, developed by Terence P. Thornberry, gang membership from a reciprocal association between the individual and his or her peer groups and other social structures. It also states that people with weakened social bonds and a reinforcement to delinquency increase the chance of joining a gang. The Interactional Theory also has combined two theories about control and social learning. The social theory states that criminal behavior is obtained through observational learning , positive reinforcement and when the person develops a system of beliefs where they justify the deviant actions. In gangs , it’s like monkey see , monkey do and because of this system. For gang membership , there have been five major trends ; individual , family , peer , school and community contexts. For a person at the individual level , their attitude towards life shapes whether or not they are more at risk for gang involvement. They tend to to have nonchalant personalities, low moral attitudes and usually have little to no feelings of guilt. They aren’t normally interested in life and usually have a prior history with crime. The people who fit this trend are usually male minorities that have troubled lives are more likely to join gangs. In the family aspect, researchers have found inconsistent results. Some studies have shown that parent that have loose discipline , being poor and having a single parent household can make the chances of joining a gang more likely. Other studies say that these things don’t really contribute. Overall , family dynamics aren’t a sure fire way to know if gang involvement is increased. Peers have a major role in whether or not kids join. The antisocial kids are usually the targets because they have little to no relationships with social kids, so it limits the opportunities that someone will talk about gang activities. In school , the strongest results that have shown to be linked to gang involvement are academic failure, not being committed to school and dropping out all together. When they think that school is not safe , they think that they need to join a gang for protection. If they think that school are all these things , then gang activity can be higher than usual. As far community , they join gangs to have a strong sense of community. They are looking for companionship and support and the feeling of having reliable people to watch their backs. But if they are met with these needs at home in the normal way , kids are less likely to go out looking for them in non traditional way. Gangs tend to normalize bad behaviors. To help prevent gangs, an intervention group in Los Angeles, the Juvenile Intervention and Prevention Program, is taking steps to help support at-risk children to help treat them. Students are selected by administrators and counselors in order to participate in the program. In the first two years of the program , over 387 students participated , with the majority of the students being Latino. At 91%, the rest were mainly African American students. 71% of the students were male and about 66.6% of the students were in high school while the rest were in middle school. This population of children were at high risk of dropping out of school, becoming involved with gang activity and or becoming apart of the juvenile justice system. The first six weeks of the program are designed to lower the chance of resisting the program, psychologically and behaviorally. The LAPD designed a physical training regimen for the students to follow to help instill the boundaries and expectations while also building self esteem.After they complete the training , they are then divided into school level and start the empowerment part of it. They teach job interviewing classes and public speaking as well as a class to help teach them the pillars of success. It teaches the kids how to be trustworthy , respectful , responsible and how to be caring and fair. This helps to set them up to be successful later in life.In Los Angeles, they have tried to reduce gang activity in their city. They started an anti-gang group called Summer Night Lights. During this time, the city experienced a 17% drop in gang violence. Another attempt happened in 2007 by the former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He passed the Anti-Gang Violence Parental Accountability Act. This act lets parents of the children who are involved with gangs, go to a class on how to identify gang and drug activity.Gang also have another type of person, girls. Girls are often initiated into by their family and or boyfriends. Girls who come in without any family ties are sexed in, which means they have to do sexual favors for the gang members. These interactions have nothing to do with their role in the gang. According to Girls Gone Gangster, ” The fairer sex is gaining more street cred and chalking more street cred and chalking up more arrests, usually on weapon charges.” This means that not only are women becoming more prevalent in gangs but that they are starting to find they fit within this lifestyle. Factors that can contribute to a women joining gangs can be a lack of parental supervision and or abusive relationships.A gang called the Portero Hill Posse (PHP), are a group of young black women who had created the gang in order to earn money for their families and not being able to find good reliable jobs. They ran crack houses, and boosted stores. The gang has a sense of sisterhood because none of the women have a good experience with family. The women with the limited education and employment, responsibilities as a parent limit the self-rule of most girl gangs.In the 90’s, girl gangs were the subject of most debates. The media demonized the girls as ” violence prone ‘ gun packing bad women’.”. These portrayals of being ‘bad girls’ had problems because they tried to challenge gender norms. In research, these characteristics, were often consistent with them gangs. In the male lens, the girls were sexual misfits, being either promiscuous or tomboys. In the PHP, their making of the gang and independence were not about challenging the males but a way to financially support themselves and their children.With the image of a ‘bad girl’, the feminist criminologist asked gang researchers to break down and conditions of girls involvement with gangs. They wanted to know whether or not they were following suit to the males with their independence or a way to challenge their expected femininity. In the homeboy study, the violence that was committed by the girl gangs were tied to drug use, but to was by chance on situation where it was due to interactions with support gangs in comparison to independent gangs where it wasn’t.In both gang types, auxiliary and independent, were faced with pressures to uphold gender standards from their boyfriends and male peers. When the girls would flirt, get high or even hang out with certain people, they would be under the males control and were abused. Also in independent girls gangs, both didn’t really fight with people outside of their gangs, but if they did, it was due to rivalries or over boyfriends. The main reason they didn’t fight is that they have a identity as a sisterhood while in auxiliary gangs, usually were in internal fights due to trying protect their reputation from their ‘sister’. Due to the structure of the gangs, they had to make sure that they weren’t the target of robbers when dealing drugs.Girls would use drugs following cultural norms. If they were in front of males, they would only drink modestly and possible smoke weed. If they were doing more hardcore drugs like cocaine and meth, it would be behind closed doors. This was that the street/gang life was governed by traditional masculine and feminine values. The females had to learn boundaries with their drug use and with alcohol what was socially acceptable.Male peers expect their female counterparts to act like a woman. Sexual identity is important to their reputation. Gang members who are female, have always been seen as either too sexual or not sexual enough. According to the this article, female gang members don’t following these stereotypes and have different types of sexuality, by age, ethnicity and the norms for female femininity. Latinas were mostly seen as ‘pure’ because their gangs ran with a tight family core and were expected to stay respectable, while black girls were more independent with this due to their economical and family circumstances.The other role women play in gangs aren’t necessarily as good. Gangs are also dabbling into sex trafficking. Within the last year , prosecutors have seen an increase with sex trafficking in gangs. In Virginia , two gang members were sentenced to life in prison for having two teenage girls sell themselves for money. Investigators say that they gang members charge anywhere between 30 and 50 dollars for each visit and force the girls into prostitution and they usually have around 10 to 15 visits per day. For the gangs, it’s easy money. It only cost them money to keep the girls off balance with alcohol and drugs. These activities usually happen at construction sites, parking lots or gas stations. They usually take girls who are runaways or some who are already in the gang.Lots of big cities like LA have taken steps to help further prevent the spread of gang life. According to the Canadian public safety minister, Ralph Goodale, the federal government in Canada is also helping to fight gangs. They are going to spend up to 327.6 million dollars over the next five years and 100 million for every after that to help fight gun and gang violence. The money is going to go into a bunch of programs to help cut down the amount of gun and gang violence and to slow down the illegal weapons that go into communities so freely. In March of this year, a summit was held on criminal guns and gangs, they brought experts from police to government officials. In 2016, there were over 2,000 criminal firearms violations , which was a 30% increase since 2013. Also 76% of homicides with a firearms are gang related compared the 20% of firearm homicides that weren’t gang related. While measures like these are important, gangs also contribute to other problems like the amount of people overdosing because they traffic in drugs. Within different ethnic groups, drug dealing styles varied. African American sellers put themselves in the main parts of the projects and or “mom and pop ” stores. Samoan gangs usual live in these areas, so they have similar dealing styles. But they are more upfront with it. They take over whole streets, and just go up to the person they sell to, either by foot or car. A rule that they follow is to not be your best seller, which means to not abuse the drugs that you sell.The Latino community is set up differently in comparison to the African American community. They took over a 1.5 mile long road that connects the commercial and residential life of the Latino community. The Latino drug dealers blend in with with the people who were shopping and they are very discreet with how they handle the transactions. The money and the drugs aren’t exchanged in an obvious manner and they sell variety of drugs, ranging to marijuana to powder cocaine and even heroin. The demand for heroin was mostly for the older generation of people and was connected to the importation of mexican tar, which is a form of heroin that is hard and sticky like tar.Asian gangs were the most different from all groups. Instead of drugs being sold in a public place, they were done over the phone or pagers. They usually sold powder cocaine and heroin. Drugs sales was organized around individual or small groups within the gang. Asian gangs are often different than the popular portrayals in the media. Southeast asian gang are often portrayed to be dangerous because of their tendencies to violence in home invasion robberies, loose organizations and are very mobile. But according to the studies done by the Southeast Asian Gang study, they found that other groups like Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian people (Lao) joined gangs just for protection against their rivals and to help fight police harassment. The main reason for them joining gangs was mostly for self / mutual help. Most times the gangs didn’t even have the typical leadership / organizational hierarchy. They also didn’t have turf because of they moved to the US and not really having a neighborhood. The Southeast gangs acted similarly to the gangs in San Francisco. Way to distinguish them was by their different colors, ways of joining and tattoos. Asian youth often join gangs because of school difficulties, and their parents were often absent from home. As stated previously, then joining of gangs was mostly for protection and retaliation against their enemies.The gang culture is also found on social media, whether it be through the music videos or a platform like twitter. David Pyrooz believes that Youtube is a breeding ground for gang activity. In 2013, he conducted a survey to see how people in gangs act online. He found that gang members use social media about as much and possibly more than people who weren’t in gangs. He also found that they act online the same way they do in real life. Gang members mostly go online to post pictures and videos to further their tough look.In 2010 – 2011, were held with black men who were formally involved with the gang life, their ages ranged from 25 – 40. Eleven of the men had issues with drug and alcohol abuse. The term ‘Street Addiction’ is best described as the physical and psychological drive for action and crisis. This means that these men were addicted to doing the bad behaviors that is often associated with gang life. The men are often have low high school graduation rates, are unemployed, have gang and drug affiliation and live a long life of crime.The area these men live in are often what they would call the ‘hood’. It allowed them to make the damage they were doing less big than what it actually was. One of the men describe the feeling of seeing police tape as a rush. Others said that seeing guns, bullets and casings were like highs because it made them feel excited.These men, in order to get out of the life, had to wean themselves out of the life. They could suffer the same bio-psychological symptoms that people suffer from with drug withdrawal. They also had to try and get out of the area because if they were to remain in the same are, it could be a trigger for them and they could relapse into being back in the gang.In California prisons, they have six main gangs, the Nuestra Familia , Aryan Brotherhood, the Black Guerrilla Family and the Northern Structure / Nazi Lowriders ( the last two gangs are subdivisions of the Nuestra Familia and the Aryan Brotherhood). The interactions between the gangs are very hostile. The guards have to let them out their cells in a particular way or they could have a riot on their hands. When let out of the cells the inmates go to the courtyard. The hispanic gang members usually claim the concrete picnic tables, the black members go to the workout areas while the white members crown around the basketball court. When all the members arrive at their destinations, they all usually send out one or two members to scout out the other gangs to see what the word on the block was. That means they went to see who was selling what and who was going to jump who.California prisons are the second largest populations of inmates in the United States, following. The United States, with the exception of North Korea, has the largest incarceration rates in the world. One in every 108 americans are incarcerated. The major gangs in the the prisons have a large hold on the drug trade and other items like cellphones behind bars.