For many years gang violence has plagued cities in the United States and around the world, causing disruptions and chaos in communities, and bringing grief and grieving to families in those communities. There seems to be no end to the killings and gang members appear to have access to unlimited numbers of weapons. Lately Chicago Illinois, in particular, has been the scene of numerous deaths due to gang violence. This paper reviews and critiques an article in The Atlantic in which noted University of Chicago Crime Lab scholar Dr. Harold Pollack is interviewed by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The interview took place in Chicago around the time that Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in a Chicago park on January 29, 2013. Pendleton was a member of a marching band that played at the inauguration of President Obama. At the time of her murder, she was hanging out with her volleyball team and was shot in the back when a shooter just apparently aimed into a crowd of students.
How does society address the issue of gang / gun violence?
Pollack, a public health researcher the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, is generally credited with bringing the issue of gun violence into a public health perspective (instead of being just another law enforcement issue). Pollack recalls the fears he experienced growing up in New York City's Washington Heights. One day while on his way to an AP class at Columbia University, he was "jumped" in a subway station by a gang of high-school-aged boys who wanted his watch, which his high school sweetheart had given to...
He resisted until a kid "…grabbed me by the hair and smashed my head against the concrete floor" (Coates, 2013, p. 2).
Pollack's cousin was "beaten to death by two teenage house burglars" a couple years after Pollack was attacked, so he set the table in the interview as far as fully understanding gang violence. One of the dynamics that apparently causes gang members to attack is the fact (according to "academic literature") that "aggression-prone kids aren't very good at deciphering the unspoken intentions of other people," Pollack explained. In other words, violent youths misinterpret other people's behavior and see it as "more hostile and more threatening than it actually is" (Coates, p. 3). Why do aggressive young toughs in Chicago mistake a normal expression for something hostile? Perhaps many young African-Americans don't have a father or an adult law-abiding man in their lives to model mature behaviors for them, Pollack surmises.
Chicago has more guns on the streets than New York does, Pollack explains; in fact the Chicago Police Department seizes "…roughly six times the guns" that the NYPD does. So Pollack and his crime lab colleagues are looking into ways to "…disrupt underground gun markets," he said. Coates asked Pollack how he plans to disrupt the underground markets. Pollack reported that "Chuck's Gun Shop," just outside Chicago's city limits, sells guns illegally. Pollack supports "reverse buy-and-bust operations" (a kind of sting operation) to shut down corrupt gun dealers.
Moreover, Pollack insists that when a police officer finds a young man with a gun, "…we don't always respond with the urgency that we should"; just because that weapon has not been used in a crime doesn't mean the sentence by the judge…
As we use this literature review to explore such issues, it is with the understanding that said issues have contributed to an overall intensification of the problems which are the consequence thereof. That is, the argument will tend to suggest, gang violence is getting worse and more widely spread, due both to the increasing severity of many of America's social problems and to the increased degree of organization and
gang violence in Canada Though gang violence is not a new phenomena in Canada, the number of gangs and the dynamics within these gangs has changed. It has been reported that the four most common types of gangs found within the Canadian provinces are street gangs, outlaw motorcycle gangs, mafias and organized crime organizations, and hate gangs. Increasing gang membership -- and the rising number of girls joining gangs, gun
(Hagedorn, 1997). These studies suggest a co-relation between drug and alcohol use and violence, and that most violence occurs when one or both (the victim and the perpetrator of the crime) are high on alcohol or drugs. However, it is important to consider the fact that most "drug-related" violence is actually drug trade related. In an analysis of New York City's homicides in 1988, Paul Goldstein and his colleagues concluded,
Corrections Issue of Gang Violence in the State of Georgia Current critical and prevalent corrections issue and its history Community mobilization Community mobilization is one of the current critical and prevalent corrective issues in the United States of America. Community mobilization involves the creation of awareness and knowledge over the issue at hand so that people are warned on how to make a judgement over their behaviours and interactions with it. Community
Since gang-related clothing is usually color coded, children wearing certain types of clothing may make them unwitting targets for violence" (p. 40). As to the effect these policies have on gang-related violence, Gullatt cites a dearth of timely research in this area but reports the results of a survey of educators in 15 states who said they believed that public school uniforms would diminish the threat of gang violence
Dropout rates of Latinos in U.S. And their effect on gang violence (or vice versa) Hispanic gang violence and high school drop-out rates Hispanic teens have the highest dropout rates of any demographic group in the United States. Gang membership amongst Latino adolescents is also increasing, rising 50% from 1999 to 2002, according to one estimate (MacDonald 2004). While rates of juvenile delinquency and gang affiliation have always been highest amongst the