The Involvement of Youths in Gangs
Rica Philline E. Verceles
Catanduanes State University
The study describes the involvement of youths towards gangs. The research identifies the reasons why youths join in gangs, the benefits or advantages in joining gangs, disadvantages and crimes involving gangs, and preventing youths in joining gangs. Data were collected using a library research. Findings indicate that youths have varying reasons why they join in gangs. These reasons include: a sense of “family”; need for food or money; desire for protection; peer pressure; family history or tradition; excitement; and lastly, to appear cool. The research also pointed out the crimes or violent offenses done by gangs. The research culminates by stating the prevention of youths in joining bad gangs or groups, and family plays an important role to prevent youths from joining gangs.
The Involvement of Youths in Gangs
The term gang has been used in different groups all over the world. Despite its different meanings, the term gang almost always connotes involvement in disputable or illegal activities.
Social scientists often use the term gang when describing groups of youths. According to Frederick Thrasher’s The Gang: A Study of 1,313 Gangs in Chicago (1927), social conditions in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century encouraged the development of street gangs. During this period, many immigrants settled in enclaves characterized by several features: a large, culturally diverse population; weak housing; poor employment vision; and a rapid turnover in population. These conditions resulted in socially disorganized neighborhoods where social organizations were weak. The lack of social control encouraged youths to find other ways of creating social order, which they did by forming gangs. History of Gangs
In the early twentieth century, U.S. youth gangs were primarily composed of Jewish, Irish and Italian members (Spergel, 1995). In 1975, almost half of all gangs in the six largest cities were primarily composed of African Americans, Hispanic, and Asians (Miller, 1975). Many Asian gangs involve youths that are Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Filipino, and various Pacific Islander backgrounds (Klein, 1995). In the Philippines, gangs are widespread in every region. During the 1950’s, there were only two gangs: the OXO (Nothing Times Nothing) from the country’s central islands and the Sigue-Sigue Gang from Manila. For decades they slaughtered each other in prison clashes. In Bilibid Prison in Manila, ninety-five percent of the prisoners are gang members. There are twelve gangs and each have their own dormitory run by a gang commander who sits on a ruling council that runs most of the prison’s internal affairs. In Bilibid Prison, gang initiation often requires each new member to endure a 30-second no-holds-barred beating. Women have a choice between beating and gang rape. Advocacies of Gangs
Different gangs, different advocacies. To know more about gangs and their advocacies, gang researchers have their own definition of a gang.
Thrasher (1927) defined gang as an interstitial group originally formed spontaneously and then integrated through conflict. According to Thrasher, all childhood playgroups are potential gangs. The transformation from playgroup to gang occurs when youths encounter others who oppose or display disapproval for their group. This disapproval may or may not stem from delinquent activities, and Thrasher was careful not to include delinquency in his definition of gangs. Instead, Thrasher argued that gangs “facilitate” delinquency.
In contrast, other researchers distinguish gangs as delinquent groups. Malcolm Klein (1995) defines a gang as a group that recognizes itself as a gang, is recognized by the community as a gang, and is committed to a criminal orientation. Finn-Aage Esbensen (2000) offers a more precise...
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