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    Gangs and Terrorism

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    Are criminal street gangs caused by failings in society or as a response to societal changes?

    Which of the following groups has a greater influence over our day to day life? How and why? Prison Gangs, Criminal street gangs, International Gangs, Terrorists.

    How are prison gangs and Outlaw Motorcycle gangs similar in the way they operate?

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    Good questions! Let's take a closer look through discussion and example.


    1. Are criminal Street gangs caused by failings in society or as a response to societal changes?

    A criminal street gang is a formal or informal ongoing organization, association, or group that has as one of its primary activities the committing of criminal or delinquent acts (http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/gangs/faq.html).

    Who is a criminal gang member? A person who meets two or more of these criteria:

    * Admits to criminal street gang membership;
    * Is identified as a gang member by a parent/guardian;
    * Is identified as a gang member by a documented reliable informant;
    * Reside/frequents a gang's area, adopts their style of dress, hand signs, or tattoos, and associates with known gang members;
    * Is identified as a gang member by an informant of previously untested reliability and such identification is corroborated by independent information;
    * Was arrested more than once in the company of identified gang member for offenses which are consistent with usual criminal street gang activity;
    * Is identified as a criminal street gang member by physical evidence such as photographs or other documentation;
    * Was stopped in the company of known criminal street gang members four or more times ((http://www.dc.state.fl.us/pub/gangs/faq.html).

    The causes of criminal street gangs is complicated by the diversity of gangs (e.g., ethnicity, criminal involvement, size) and 30 years of shifting sociological theory (and public opinion) about gang formation. There is little scientific evidence. However, most generally agree that there appear to be two sets of basic variables operating in gang development and gang maintenance over time: societal structural factors and psychological factors. This question deals with the former.

    a. Criminal Street gangs caused by failings in society

    Societal structural factors emerge create social environments ripe for gang formation: "American street gangs consist of minorities, the young and usually males, and are found principally in the working and lower-class sections of their cities" (Klein, 1995, as cited in http://www.athabascau.ca/courses/crjs/360/gangs_def02.html). This is often referred to as "an urban underclass" characterized by poverty, high crime, under-education, underemployment, and "disempowerment" of its residents (http://www.athabascau.ca/courses/crjs/360/gangs_def02.html). The majority of the gang members comprise the urban ...

    Solution Summary

    In reference to gangs and terrorism, this solution discusses the potential causes of criminal street gangs, the types of gang that has a greater influence over our day to day life e.g. criminal street gangs, international gangs or terrorists and the similarities between how prison gangs and Outlaw Motorcycle gangs operate.