Ganging Up on Gang Violence

May 7, 2010
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“This is just an epidemic that we need to stop,” says New York Assemblyman Jose Peltra about the daily gang violence. Gang violence is like an ongoing war on our own streets today. With that, I’m going to inform on what my perception is on what gang violence is, why are more people getting and youth getting involved, and how we, as a society, can prevent the ongoing gang violence.
There are many different definitions on what gang violence is, but it is mostly an organized crime or random act of violence performed by three or more people. They identify themselves by using colors, symbols, tattoos and names (Crips or Bloods). They also mark their territory or “hood” in which they control, by graffiti, that is made of threats towards other gangs and is used with the gang color and symbols. They are usually involved in drug dealings and/or using, shootings, stabbings, beatings, and homicides. They usually perform criminal acts because they want money, other gangs being disrespectful to them, or in some cases, going into their territory and trying to take it over.
According to a survey done by the National Youth Gang, a survey showed that youth involvement in gangs went up to 34% in 2001. This maybe a small number, but if you think about it, it’s not. Those 34% that are our age are throwing away their life at a young age with so much potential. Although, there can be many reasons why are joining gangs, but the main reasons are: poverty, little to no education, bad economy, stress, the pressure to “protect your hood,” or racism. According to another survey by the National Youth Gang in 2001, 47% of gangs are Hispanic, 31% were African American, 13% were white, and 7% were Asian. If you noticed this, but the top two races are minorities in our country and they’re most likely growing up in poverty. To get in a gang you have to go through a beating that is 3-5 gruesome minutes performed by 3 or more people, to prove your toughness to the gang your trying to join. And it’s nearly impossible to leave a gang without risking your life, because you just showed them disrespect by leaving the gang.
According to a JAMA article, it is nearly impossible to prevent involvement in gangs, which I think is totally false! First of all, for the people that are involved in gangs, follow the gangs laws more stricter and start cracking down on gangs, and people that are in gangs should go through classes with other rival gangs and resolve all of the tension and hate between gangs. Violence is not the key to solving a problem. So it’d be like a peace class for the gangs and anyone that refuses to go gets a minimum jail sentence of a year, plus six months of strict probation after released from jail, and if that doesn’t work give them 3 years in prison where they have to go to the class and participate. And for those that are in the neighborhood where gangs are active, but not in a gang, have extra curricular activities for them for a low or reasonable cost to what their yearly income is. Have tutors work with them after school. And most importantly, ask them what their favorite activities are, and hold activities to their likings for a cheap cost. Show them that we care and we want what’s life’s best for them, we cannot continue to pay little to no attention to them.
With all that, I hope we can find a way to prevent or put a decrease into gang violence and youth involvement in gangs comes to an end. And maybe one day, all gangs that we have, advocate for peace and equal rights.





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