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Ayana Lemon

Professor Brown

English 113

June 4, 2007

1-2 pg Paper

Street Gangs in America

The desire to provide safe schools for the nation's youth is high on the list of priorities for every educator in the country. Yet in the last few years, law-enforcement and public schools everywhere have experienced a virtual epidemic of youth violence, that is rapidly spreading from the inner cities to the suburbs. Gang tumult has become a nationwide catastrophe not only in the country's large metropolitan centers, but in the small urban and rural areas as well.

Gang activity not only means hideous graffiti, but accelerated crime and dropout rates, the deterioration of neighborhoods, parks, and playgrounds, and wasted human resources everywhere. Gangs are no longer just the problem of those who live in the crime ridden neighborhoods where the gangs thrive; they are now everyone's problem.

Los Angeles is regarded as the nation's gang violence capital. California has experienced street gang problems for more than 70 years. And an important first step toward solutions that work is understanding the forces that cause youths to join gangs. Before beginning with Los Angeles it all flourished in the 1920s and 30’s. Street gangs became the symbol of lower income neighborhoods and ethnic ghettos. The ghetto neighborhoods saw their youth forming gangs. African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics made up the majority of street gangs.

By the early 1980's, gangs had sprung up in most of the large cities in the Nation, especially in the poorer inner-city and ring-city areas. In 1989, delinquent gangs were

located in almost all 50 States. Together, 35 cities reported 1,439 gangs, with California, Florida, and Illinois leading the Nation in gang concentrations. Of the total 120,636 gang members reported in all surveyed cities, 70,000 were estimated to reside in Los Angeles County and 12,000 in Chicago. As of 1991, an estimated 4,881 gangs with 249,324 members existed across the Nation.




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