Gang Violence

A Need to Belong (p. 2-19, 27)

This report produced by the Centre for Mental Health focuses on the underlying reasons for why girls join gangs. Many people often associate gangs to teenage boys, but this source gives great insight into the relation between young women and gangs. The first few pages analyze the root causes for their involvement, which is important when identifying the complexities of gang violence. As the title of this report suggests, some girls join gangs because they feel the need to belong. Family problems are a starting point for delinquent behavior and when they join gangs, they may feel safer and more comfort than at their own home. Other girls face peer pressure and may be tricked into becoming part of a gang. Unfortunately, the reality is that many “young women associated with gangs are at particularly high risk of sexual violence and exploitation.” Studies in this report show that girls who are part of a gang are eight times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse. This report contains definitions and risk factors, as well as multiple charts presenting several key statistics on reasons for why girls join gangs.

Khan, Lorraine, et al. “A Need to Belong.” Centre for Mental Health. 2011. p. 2-19, 27. Web. 12 July 2014. <>.


Youth Gangs: Background, Legislation, and Issues (p. 1-24)

Legislation to stop gang violence has been heavily reliant on state and local governments. In the last few decades, the U.S. federal government has passed laws to identify and narrow down the definition of gang violence. In the early twentieth century, gangs were often groups of friends who were bound by friendship, support, and a sense of community. Now gangs are “seen as juvenile delinquents and criminals who are more likely to be a threat to communities and public order, frequently as drug traffickers and violent criminals.” Although the amount of violent crimes has been gradually decreasing, gang activity has been increasing in large cities and rural areas. Criminal activities performed by youth gangs range from petty theft and robbery to drug trafficking and smuggling, even to gang rape and murder. Young adults around the age of 21 make up most of youth gangs and are the most susceptible to committing atrocious crimes. This report also covers different gangs around the world and the certain problems that seem to arise more frequently in those areas.

Franco, Celinda. “Youth Gangs: Background, Legislation, and Issues.” 23 January 2007. p. 1-24. Web. 26 July 2014. <>.


Gang Mentality

This article examines the report on gang activity by the Multnomah County Local Public Safety Coordinating Council in Portland, Oregon. Many people in the area believe that gang violence has been increasing in the past couple years. However, in reality, there is “no evidence that gang violence is growing worse,” contrary to what has been shown in the media. Many changes regarding police strategies have decreased gang crimes. Although there has been a significant decrease, there is still more work to be done. One homicide is considered to be one too many. As the article states, if the number of homicides was decreased from 100 to 10, there are still 10 lives lost and families affected. This article takes a critical look at the opposing views on how police force and other agencies should address varying levels of gang activity.

Mesh, Aaron, et al. “Gang Mentality.” Willamette Week. 23 July 2014. Web. 2 August 2014. <>.

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