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Gangs have been and will always be a part of society, They have in one form or another been around for hundreds of years. For example pirates were in some way or another a form of an organized gang. The groups that traditionally come to mind when one thinks of modern day gangs are the Crips and the Bloods from California, and the people Folk originating from Chicargo. The origins of the Crips and Bloods can be traced to the late 60's, and the gang culture is so ingrained on the west coast that many families have three and even four generations of gangsters residing in the same residence. The people Folks started out in the late 70 and early 80's Depending on whose figures you listen to (some officials have a tendency to downsize the numbers). As of January, 1993, L.A. gangs set's numbered between 800 and 1000, with anywhere from 120,000 to 220,000 members. These numbers are often debated, and depending on whose criteria is used to decide who is and is not a gangbanger. The figures could be considerably higher. This paper will elaborate on some of the facts surrounding Juvenile gangs.

Over the past several years we have seen a increase in the number of juvenile

crimes and juveniles joining organized gangs. These juveniles are not only joining at a younger age but are committing more violent crimes then there antecedent. What makes these young men and women decide to participate in the violent and often deadly crimes of gangs? Why would a youngster be so eager to submit himself or herself to the torture of initiation or risk there life by having sex with a known person that's HIV positive?

Although varies regions of the country may have different meanings or definition for the term "gang member" a good description for a gang can be found in the November 1991 issue of school safety update published by Pepperdine University's National School Safety Center, it defines a gang as "A group of three or more individuals with a unique name, identifiable marks or symbols, who clam a territory or turf, associate on a regular basis, and engage in criminal or anti social behavior".

Basically juvenile gangs can be placed in one of three categories, however they can often exhibit traits of a combination of the three.

THE SOCIAL GANG, Relatively permanent group that hangs out at a specific location ,Members develop a sense of comradeship and often engage in organized group activities, Members include the most stable youths in the neighborhood ' those who have the closest association with the norms and values of society in general.

THE DELINQUENT GANG, Cohesive group organized around principle of monetary gain from delinquent activities, Members depend on one another to carry out planned activities and to provide help if necessary, Leader is usually the most competent at stealing and is an excellent organizer and planner, Members are emotionally stable and able to organize their time and efforts for criminal activity.

THE VIOLENT GANG, Organized to obtain emotional gratification that violent activities can bring, Members spend time building arsenals, planning and carrying out violent acts, Leaders tend to be emotionally unstable ' have a need to control and direct others, Both leaders and followers tend to overestimate the importance, size and power of their group, Structure is constantly changing. Allies one day can become enemies the next day, Identified by inner-group violence.

Youth involvement with gangs Can begin as early as elementary school starting at 7-8 years of age. Leadership roles in street gangs are usually not formally recognized positions. They are assumed by a member who demonstrates dominant control at a given time. Gangs are usually comprised of males ranging from 7 to 28 years of age. Keeping with modern day mores, gangs have gone equal ...

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