Environmental Pressure of Adolescent Gang Violence in Inter-City’s

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Introduction

Poverty is the worlds biggest social problem. Within it there are lasting consequences for families forced to dwell in not so family friendly neighboring communities due to lack of income. There’s a stem that leads to every problem, and at the bottom of poverty lies gang affiliation in adolescent teens in poverty that of which are at an all-time high. I trust you have heard the phrase “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” (Burkus, 2018 p. 1-5). A quote attributed most often to motivational speaker Jim Rohn, and the alternative “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future” (Burkus, 2018 p. 1-5). This all being said, what happens when a young adolescents five closest friends are heavily involved in Crips, and Blood gangs in Tulsa Oklahoma. I am researching the effects of environment, and peer pressure in teen gangs committing juvenile acts. There is a correlation in the amount of gang members who are juvenile delinquents, and who are living below the poverty threshold. Poverty, and gangs go hand in hand, and after a national survey “According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s, 46.2 million Americans are considered impoverished, and approximately 16.4 million American children – 22 percent of the population younger than 18 – live in poverty” (Fay, 2018). Poverty playing a role in gang involvement means 16.4 million at risk children living in intercity communities are more likely to be exposed to gang affiliation due to their socioeconomic status. (e.g., focusing on poverty effecting equal opportunity) (Burkus, 2018 p. 1-5).

The Impact of Environment in Delinquency

There are 2.7 million children who have parents in jail, and these adolescents are twice as likely to be in jail themselves. They believe their destiny is to be in the criminal justice system due to the environment they have grown up in. In the morning wake up to gun shots and go to school with drug dealers at street corners. Growing up around gang bangers, and gang members fill the role of a role models for kids in the inter-city. In fact, its where they thrive according to sage journals “Gangs tend to thrive in disadvantaged and socially disorganized communities Also, gang members have been found to come from neighborhoods with already existing gangs and high juvenile delinquency thus putting young people who reside in these “gang neighborhoods” at an increased risk of gang joining. Arguably, this could be the result of a lack of protective factors in disadvantaged communities play a role” (Alleyne, 2011). Drug dealers are looked upon as leaders in the community. You need converses the drug dealer comes over and lets you pick from a line of converses. Grandma can’t pay rent this month the friendly neighborhood drug dealer comes by and pays for the rent this month. When the drug dealer comes around its Christmas in the inter-city, and this breeds a cycle in the development of teenagers who also want to be just like them so they can get their own pair of converses. Family factors in “Arguably, poor community organization weakens prosocial family influences, thus resulting in the youth’s attraction to gangs and delinquency. A lack of parental discipline and parental supervision/monitoring have both been found to put young people at risk of joining a gang. Further factors such as family income, familial criminality, and gang-involved family members provide young people with a home environment that reinforces gang-related and delinquent behavior” (Alleyne, 2011). Understandably so the parents are working to make ends meat and can’t always be present for there children when they need them to be there for development most leading to the unintended consequences.

Peer Pressure of Teens in Gangs

Teenagers in gangs are susceptible to negative influence from their peers shaping their behaviors, and values into adulthood. These negative social networks set them on a route of delinquency, and membership in the gang up to their twenties counting. Peers have such a strong influence on teen behavior that all it takes is a little ego stroking too get someone younger to do something dangerous or illegal they normally wouldn’t do otherwise. This is shown in a recent interview from Pete who recognizes the influence of peer pressure in gangs who states “I never even tried to hang with them because, you know, it might be, because honestly, I’m a daredevil…. If they dare me to do something, and then I’d be like no I ain’t going to do it, and they would be like, you scared” (Kelly, 2012 p. 20-8) can lead to bad decisions. He worries that if he were to hang around the gang members in his community, he would do something he might regret, because he’s a daredevil. This is from Pete’s perspective who isn’t heavily involved, but on the end of the pendulum Ms. Greg explained that “”Greg came home a couple of times trying to wear the colors they wear out on the street…but me knowing that those bandanas are influenced by gang relations…I made him stop that”” (Kelly, 2012 p. 20-8). One way of addressing the problem is being proactive in who their kids are hanging around preventing contact with gang related friends is one sure way to take on the problem. This brings me to my next point, kids want to fit in with their peers. That’s normal intention, but in these gangs, it can mean participating in activities supporting illegal activity. Also wearing gang affiliated clothing. “This notion supports a previous study that found peers support illegal activity. Adolescents living in low-income areas need peer support to promote their socialization skills” (Peer pressure influencing choices in teenagers) (Kelly, 2012 p. 20-8).

Lasting Consequences in Enduring Gang Affiliation

Adolescents are born into this environment with “Exposure to violence, specifically gang violence, can leave a lasting impression on adolescents. Safety, parental engagement, and peer relationships can influence adolescents’ exposure to gangs and gang violence. The perceptions of living in an unsafe neighborhood and having unhealthy relationships with their parents and peers may affect how adolescents cope with those experiences.” (Kelly, 2012 p. 20-8). Nobody deserves to grow up in an unsafe place. It’s a right for everyone to have supportive peers, teachers, and family who care about them. The adolescents in inter-city gangs do not have equal opportunity available to them. Consequences following the enduring gang affiliation involves sudden loss of extracurricular activities, ligament social organizations, labeling stigmatisms, and incarceration. In addition to sociological consequences there is a physical, and mental health concern. “Evidence has also shown that gang participation leads to long-lasting physical and mental health problems” (Kelly, 2012 p. 20-8). It is difficult to convince adolescent gang members who are making thousands of dollars effortlessly to work for $7.25 an hour in a legitimate business barely scaping by. Adolescents are far more susceptible than adults to do unconventional illicit behaviors. Once more the longer they are in affiliation the harder it is to change old ways, and eventually become habits or even lifestyles. These are the consequences of enduring gang affiliation involving a revolving cycle of incarceration.

Conclusion

Gang affiliation is a social problem in these environments with adolescents nationwide. Exposure to intercity gangs leave susceptible teenagers being born into the environment looked upon as the leaders in the neighborhoods as they join gangs and start selling drugs. When kids see the friendly neighborhood dealer has a new car, new kicks, and loads of money from selling drugs this creates endless cycle of new dealers, and gang members. It is important to understand this is what they know the children living in poverty filled to the brim with minorities, parents, family members, and friends in prison. Unfortunately, the descendants believe this is their fate, and the self-fulfilling prophecy unfolds. Children aren’t grounded like adults and are not yet confident in who they are making them mailable to change. As soon as a teenager is put into a detention center its over for them. The other teenagers feed them better ways to get away with acts, better ways to steal, etc. It is more difficult for a child to rehabilitate who is already in the juvenile delinquency system than one who hasn’t been in it. It is crucial that it be a last option to put these children in the system, and instead refer them to rehabilitation centers. “Some people will argue that juvenile offenders don’t have the capacity to change and will only grow up to become malicious adults. While a small number of juvenile offenders may and do become chronic offenders — for a number of reasons — it is unethical for our society to deny minors who have not reached their full mental and emotional capacity the chance to mature into contributing members of society as adults” (Staff, 2009). Many states set an age limit, and I believe nation wide we should give all juveniles the chance up until they turn eighteen, and in some cases twenty-five.

References

  1. Alleyne, Emma. 18 Feb. (2011) “Gang Involvement.” SAGE Journals.
  2. Burkus, David. 23 May (2018) “You’re NOT the Average Of The Five People You Surround
  3. Yourself With.” Medium, The Mission. (1-5).
  4. Dong, and Krohn. (2016). “”Escape from Violence: What Reduces the Enduring Consequences of
  5. Adolescent Gang Affiliation?”” Journal of Criminal Justice 47 (41-50).
  6. Fay Staff Writer, Bill. 1st Nov. (2018) “Poverty in the United States.” Debt.org, America’s Debt
  7. Help Organization.
  8. Kelly, Sarah E, and Debra G Anderson. (2012) “”Adolescents, Gangs, and Perceptions of Safety,
  9. Parental Engagement, and Peer Pressure.”” Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services 50.10: (20-8).
  10. Staff, Rollcall. 11 Nov. (2009) “Youth Offenders Deserve a Chance for Rehabilitation.” Roll Call,”
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Environmental Pressure of Adolescent Gang Violence in Inter-City’s. (2021, Jun 17). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/environmental-pressure-of-adolescent-gang-violence-in-inter-citys/

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