The problem of street gangs can not be considered new, however it becomes more and more acute for all areas, as a serious threat for public safety and quality of life. The problem of gangs has negative impact on social aspects as well as economic costs. As one of the steps for struggling with gangs in 2005 The National Gang Threat Assessment was worked out. It is a unique and multisided presentation of the gang problem, based on researches and information provided from various Bureaus and departments; there was a huge work done, because there is a strong necessity to find the solution for this problem. Gangs contribute to building fear and violence in societies and thus are related to all the spheres of social life: private life, children, business and so on. This is not correct to think, that this problem exists somewhere apart, it is actual for all members of the society. Gangs are becoming more and more tricky and inventive, which certainly makes them even more dangerous and urges immediate reaction and response.
The followings facts can be used to prove the implication of gangs in everyday life:
– gangs are closely related to drugs distribution and drugs related crimes
– gangs belong to various crime groups and their struggle for territories, control and money often lead to involvement of victims from usual people.
– gangs are able to use new technologies and thus brighten the horizons of their activities and become more dangerous.
– some gangs are connected with terrorism attacks
– gangs tend to development, growth and expanding their territories along with migrating throughout one country as well as between different countries and so on.
Certainly all the above-mentioned facts cannot provide the complete image of the gangs’ problem. The 2005 National Gang Threat Assessment provided a more detailed and actual overview of the trends and outcomes of gangs’ activities.Â As it was already mentioned, gangs tend to migration, and thus there is a menace of their appearance in the regions, which were considered to be gangfree before; in the areas, where are already gangs, newcomers might initiate conflicts and even more violence. Trafficking of drugs brings a lot of money and often serves as primary source of financial support of gangs. The researches proved, that violence and drug trafficking has grown immensely.
For any gang this is easier to operate in case there is already a strong structure build and organized. The brightest examples of such structures might be Asian organized crime and Russian organized crime, which occupy 28 and 24 percent of all gangs correspondingly. Gangs are able to develop along with modern technologies and make good use of new tools, such as computers, Internet, mobiles and so on. These tools facilitate their criminal activity and enrich their possibilities, also help them to avoid detection. Due to the fact, that most of the members of gangs are young people and that there are constantly new members appearing, they are able to be in control of all new technologies and their applications.
Some of the conducted surveys show, that gangs are related to domestic and international terrorist organizations, however the real percentage of such associations is not big, because gangs are mostly interested in getting money for sales of drugs, weapon and credit card frauds.
Hispanic gangs occupy one of the leading positions, due to the fact, that the percentage of Hispanic population in the United States is growing. The survey of 2001 proved that 49 percent of all gang members were of Hispanic or Latino origin. What is really amazing, that young women take active part in gangs’ activities along with men and although male gangs still continue to dominate, the number of female gangs is growing.
After studying all these facts, it seems that nothing is actually done in order to stop or at least to minimize the activity of gangs, however this is not true. Officials of law enforcement worked out numerous programs for schools and communities, “zero tolerance” enforcement policies and gangs injunctions. There is a strong structure working on collecting the information about gangs and their actions and plans in order to undermine their activities.
However the reduce of funds and political involvement has a negative impact upon law enforcement steps. This is evident, that law enforcement should be conducted with the support from public, community leaders and school administrations. Whereas denial of the gangs problem lead to gang growth and stronger destroying influence upon the community. If the community leaders and community members are not ready or are not interested in taking urgent measures against the alarming situation with gangs growing strength, it is not possible to speak about successful law enforcement and prevention of gang activities.Â There is no use in denying as well as avoiding the problem of gangs growth, there is on the contrary urgent need for mutual efforts and purposeful measures aimed at rapid improvement of the situation.