Gang Violence and Drug Involvement in the U.S.
"Once found principally in large cities, violent street gangs now affect public safety, community image, and quality of life in communities of all sizes in urban, suburban, and rural areas. No region of the United States is untouched by gangs. Gangs affect society at all levels, causing heightened fears for safety, violence, and economic costs" (In The Spotlight) As the quote above shows, gangs and everything that goes with them has spread all over the United States and is now one of the major issues the U.S. faces. There are estimated to be about twenty-nine thousand, four hundred gangs and seven hundred fifty six thousand gang members all throughout the U.S. Also, there are thousands of other gang members illegally crossing the U.S. borders, mostly from Central America. Each gang differs in some way but however, “A common definition for a gang is a group of three or more individuals who engage in criminal activity and identify themselves with a common sign or name” (Barbour 9). The main problem in the U.S. is not the actual gangs, but it is the drugs that they involve themselves with. The drugs only bring violence and problems. The main purpose of many gangs today is not to rule turf or power but to get money by smuggling drugs over the borders and then selling them. Gang activity and violence is occurring all over the U.S. every day, mainly caused by the involvement of illegal narcotics, if this country wants to stop the gangs, it needs to completely cut off the smuggling and trafficking of drugs from Central America into the U.S. by combining different government agencies of different levels to prevent the gangs from entering the U.S. and growing and also to create prevention programs and groups to control it at a more localized level where the issues are the most pressing.
Gangs are smuggling over the U.S. borders and it is causing more problems than the government can handle. The main source of drugs is coming from Central America, where the most predominant number of gangs is located. Many gangs are focused only on smuggling different types of drugs into the U.S. and it is the one way to sustain a constant source of income. This is very appealing to any youth who wants money and that is why the number of gang members is growing so rapidly. “The transnational gangs are located in over 300 cities and 40 states across the country and are becoming a serious threat to the national security of the United States” (Farah). Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) is the most dangerous gang in the U.S. today and is not even native to the U.S. The homeland of MS-13 is in El Salvador. El Salvador is the most highly gang populated country in Central America. Some other gang-infested countries are Guatemala and Honduras. There are about ten thousand MS-13 members in the U.S. alone and about forty thousand members in Central America. Unfortunately, these numbers are still on the rise. MS-13 recruits members at a very young age, which keeps a steady growth in members. The idea of a better family and brotherhood, but also money, is very appealing to any kid who is struggling at home. MS-13 accounts for the majority of drug distribution from Central America and is the focal point that needs to be attended to if this problem is going to be solved.
Another main problem with the drugs is how large of an impact they have on the people because they only add to the already existing problems for society. Also, violence and drugs go hand in hand, which is why they are so involved within the gangs. Violence is always involved with gangs, but with the addition of drugs, the violence can intensify to a level where nothing can be done. This causes the gangs to be much harder to deal with. One main problem is that the American society hates the gangs but loves the drugs and will continue to buy drugs no matter where they are coming from. This makes it even more difficult to deal with. The drugs find a way to...
Cited: Barbour, Scott, ed. Gangs. San Diego: Greenhaven, 2002. Print.
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"In the Spotlight: Gangs." National Criminal Justice Reference Service. U.S. Department of Justice, 7 Sept. 2012. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.
Smith, Pamela K. "Gangs." Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society. ABC-CLIO, 2013. Web. 25 Apr. 2013.
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