Gangs
on the Rise

 

Introduction

There
are roughly 1.4 million gangs in the United States. With the increase in gangs
one can speculate the rise in gang violence as well. James Howell of the
National Gang Center stated in the past five years we have noticed an eight
percent increase in the number of gangs thus resulting in an increase of twenty
three percent of gang-related homicides and other violence. ((CITE))) Although
overall violence in the United States has declined those numbers have not
impacted gang violence. W.I. Thomas and Florian Znanicki ((CITE)) brought forth
the concept of Social Disorganization. Social Disorganization states due to the
lack of community and sense of belongingness along with different moral ideas, community
members, specifically immigrated children, seek approval in an attempt to adapt
to a new culture and rely on crime as the platform to bring them closer to
other members of the community and share a commonality. Social disorganization provides
gang members a nesting ground to build and flourish.

Body

Gangs
have formed in larger geographical areas over a hundred years ago. Howell
((CITE)) mentions immigrated Europeans came to big cities and “plagued” them
with gangs. Immigrants came to the United States in hopes of fitting in with a
melting pot of different cultures and attempting to become adaptable members of
society however social disorganization easily disrupts communities with the
influx of people moving into and out of the community causing members to not “know
thy neighbor”. Weakened community bonds welcome gangs such as the Bloods and
MS-13 as mentioned by Howell. Washington DC is now home to 650,000 people
((CITE)) that offers gangsters a wide range of “prospects” to choose from. Large
gangs come into already overpopulated cities and flood them with tainted
versions of brotherhood. The larger gangs then break down into smaller gangs
throughout the cities leaving no square inch left unclaimed.

Members
of gangs use violence as a way to instill fear into societal members. Gangsters
implant their disrupted values on weakened society members thus gangs remain in
control and are allowed to fulfill their illegal activities as desired. Gang lifestyle
becomes intriguing to second generation immigrants as it brings to them a sense
of family and exposes those in poverty to “luxurious” aspects of being in a
gang.

Another
aspect of social disorganization is known as the “Concentric Zone Theory” the theory
uses five zones that are within a two mile radius to examine the differences as
you move from inward to the city to the outward of the city. Ernest Burgess
studied these zones and labeled them one through five. Zone number one
represented an area where the most of the transportation for the city came from
such as trains and highways. Zone two was an area that was livable conditions
however as the vast amount of people come through zone two and moved on, they
left landlords unwilling to make changes or refurbish resulting in affordable homes
and drawing low income families to this zone. Zone three was home to “second or
third generation immigrants”. Zone four was considered to be the suburbs and
lastly zone five was the residence to the wealthy whom withdrew from industrialized
areas and other pollutants.

Burgess
quickly learned that zone two had higher levels of crime being committed in it.
Due to social disorganization, zone two was most likely to experience a host of
crimes as a result of lack of community regardless of the different cultures or
races that lived there.