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Cultural Perspective on Crime

I need help with the following questions:

1. If most youth gangs are racially and ethnically homogeneous, should law enforcement use race and ethnic specific strategies to fight gang formation and control gang crime?

2. On the other hand, should law enforcement strategies be racially and ethnically neutral? What dilemmas are created for police departments who pursue each of these strategies?

3. Is the likely result institutional or contextual discrimination? Explain.

4. Which theory of crime do you believe best explains the prevalence of crime in the United States? Explain.

Solution Preview

Please see response attached, which is also presented below. I attached two highly informative articles for further reading, as well. I hope this helps and take care.

1. If most youth gangs are racially and ethnically homogeneous, should law enforcement use race and ethnic specific strategies to fight gang formation and control gang crime? On the other hand, should law enforcement strategies be racially and ethnically neutral? What dilemmas are created for police departments who pursue each of these strategies? Is the likely result institutional or contextual discrimination? Explain.

This is a heated debate. What side of the argument do you find yourself?

One side of the argument that seems reasonable it that because race is one of the crime indicators, it also needs to be part of the solution and must be considered in the strategies for crime control, whether it is an all-white gang, African American gang, Hispanic gang, to name a few. Thus, intelligence must be gathered in all areas that are related to the specific gang, and based on the intelligence, then formulate the strategies specific to that gang. In other words, law enforcement strategies need to consider the contributing factors in gang related crimes, and if race is a factor, it needs to be factored into the equation of best crime control strategies. However, in the end, the strategies might be similar or the same across races, but race cannot be ignored when it is a factor, regardless of the type of race homogeneous. Cultural differences in responses to certain crime control strategies might indeed be very different and have very different outcomes. for example, in Canada, the First Nations people use very different crime control strategies, such as sweat Lodges, healing circles, the burning of sweet grass, to name a few and ask for these strategies that are race/cultural/ethnic specific if necessary. Other crime control strategies might be Universal in type and application e.g., problem solving strategy (see attached article). However, the problem-solving strategies include the intelligence related to gang activity, including race and ethnic intelligence.

BACKGROUND: ORGANIZATIONAL CHARACTERISTICS

There are four basic groups in the general gang model: (1) potentials, or "could be's," who are usually the youngest of possible members; (2) claimers, associates, or "wanna be's," who dress, act, and walk like members, and participate in gang activities; (3) regular members, who comprise the biggest portion of a gang; and (4) hard core members, who are often protected by regular members, and may or may not have an authority position in the gang, but usually constitute around 5-10% of the gang. Other member classifications include the threefold typology by Sanders (1994), consisting of (1) hardcore; (2) affiliate; and (3) fringe; and the fourfold typology by Hagedorn (1994) which includes (1) legits, who hope to mature out of gang activity one day; (2) homeboys, who alternate between criminal and conventional lifestyles; (3) dope fiends, who are into gang activity to feed their habit; and (4) new jacks, who see gang activity as a career. Gang types are usually classified according to one of three typologies. First, there is Taylor's (1990) typology of (1) scavenger gangs, who lack goals, purpose, consistent leadership, and tend to prey upon the weak; (2) territorial gangs, who define an exclusive turf and defend it; and (3) corporate gangs, who are the most organized for purposes of illegal money-making ventures. Second, there is Huff's (1996) typology of (1) hedonistic gangs, who like to get high and have good times; (2) instrumental gangs, who are primarily involved in property crime and economic gain; and (3) predatory gangs, who are likely to have sophisticated weapons and be involved in robbery, mugging, and other crimes of opportunity. Third, there is Fagan's (1989) typology of: Type 1 gangs, involved only in alcohol and marijuana use; Type 2 gangs, heavily involved in vandalism and drug sales to support their habit; Type 3 gangs, extensively involved in both serious and nonserious crime as well as hard ...

Solution Summary

By responding to the questions, this solution discusses aspects of cultural perspective on crime. Supplemented with two informative articles on crime and gang crime.

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