Project #43644 - Na

I need two seperate 250 word responses to the text below. No format needed as it will be posted in a forum.

Gangs and crime are words that seem to go hand in hand. Whenever many of us think of gang members and their activities, we automatically think, “crime.” Although gang members are more likely to commit crimes than non-gang members, saying they commit the most amount of crime will depend on what source you are receiving your information from. (Shelden 2012) The same goes with saying gang members commit a large amount of crime.

A lot of the information concerning gangs and crime rates varies by jurisdiction. Information from the National Gang Intelligence Center suggests that gangs commit most of the violent crimes. The information states that gang members commit from 48-90% of all violent crime, depending on jurisdiction. (Shelden 2012) This information has been criticized as most of it comes from police intelligence from different departments. However, information from other police departments has suggested that most did not report any gang related homicides from 2002-2004. Rather, most homicides occurred between people of close relations like family members and friends. (Shelden 2012)

A lot of the statistics that we study will also vary depending on if a person is identified as a gang member. If a gang member commits murder and they are not subsequently identified as a gang member, the statistics will not be accurate. This may have been the case in Las Vegas, NV from 1989-1995. According to the court records, gang members were involved in 2-6% of violent index crimes. When examining murder cases, gang members were involved in 10-23% of cases. (Shelden 2012) However, it is quite possible that these statistics can be very inaccurate if an actual gang member was never identified as such. No information is available that suggests a large number of gang members were not identified, but I am using this as an example. As with the previous statistics included in the 2nd paragraph, this shows us that although gang members are involved in violent crimes, they do not account for most of the crimes committed.

Other statistics from other areas such as Dallas, TX and Westminster, CA also suggest that gang members do not commit a large amount of crime. In Dallas, gang members were said to have committed 8% of all crimes. In Westminster, gang members were said to have committed 7% of all crimes. (Shelden 2012)

From reading the textbook, I have concluded that although gang members do commit crimes, they do not commit most of the crimes in the United States. The statistics have proven that they do not account for the majority of crimes committed. Many of the crimes, especially homicides, often occur within a family or between close acquaintances. This may surprise many as it surprised me. Many tend to think that gang members spend all their time committing crimes, but statistics have proven this is as false. I believe that we have this perception of gangs because of the way the media has portrayed them, as we discussed in the first forum posting.

Although we have read that they do not commit the most crimes, we should keep in mind that gang members are more likely to commit crimes than non-gang members. Even when compared to at-risk youth, gang members were more likely to commit crimes such as assaults, drug offenses, theft, and other offenses. (Shelden 2012) Gang members aren’t committing the majority of crime in the United States, but being a gang member makes a person more likely to commit a crime.

- Noel Del Rosario

Shelden, R., Sharon T., William B., (2012). Youth Gangs in American Society, 4th Edition.

         Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

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