Critical Thinking

In and gang culture in the United Kingdom

In this
essay I will be critically evaluating the threat that is posed by gangs and
gang culture in the United Kingdom while also trying to compare and contrast
some of the possible ways in which the police forces up and down the country
can try to combat this ever changing problem and crimes that are being
committed.

 

I have
chosen gangs as my topic due to the nature of the crimes they commit whether it
be small crimes involving a gang of youths with a little reputation and doing
it of boredom or major crime gangs who import illegal weapons and drugs to gain
massive amounts of money which has a knock on effect to the general public all be
it if they are a victim themselves or witness any form of these crimes.

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I am
going to look into several locations two in the United kingdom being Liverpool
and London along with briefly looking at the USA. Which shows that gang culture
is an issue not just in big cities but all around the world in smaller
locations too.

 

American
has been seen as the main place for research based on gang culture however
researchers there have been unable to come to an agreement on a definition for
gangs.

 

Researchers
have argued for many years that there is an increase in gang problems within
the United Kingdom. Gangs are usually from deprived areas which are less likely
to be involved with authority figures. Gangs are summed up as ‘a group of ten
or more who have a reputation and name who also claim an allegiance to any geographical
area within the United Kingdom. (John Heale One Blood: Inside Britain’s new
gang culture and McClatchey and De Castella, 2011).

 

Gangs
are often perceived as a threat due to their willingness to get involved in
violence, drugs, robbery, extortion, people trafficking, shootings and
stabbings but not all gangs are a threat because some younger individuals tend
to get together in groups, think of a name for their group and then try to act
intimidating but in reality they are learning the power of intimidation and
committing petty crime such as stealing phones. (BBC News, 2011)

 

Every
group is perceived to be a gang when in fact they are just children hanging
around on the street corners because they have nothing to do due to boredom, but
not all gangs are like this as there are two types such as urban gang groups as
mentioned above and then there’s serious organized crime gangs. (John Heale,
One Blood)

 

Measuring Gang Crime

 

Unfortunately
even through gang crime is being committed on a daily basis it is hard to
tackle due to the lack of recording and lack of information because there is no
official link between gang crime and the certain crimes that are committed, the
only recording is of the actual specific crime itself due to any gang element
not needing to be recorded. (BBC News, 2011)

 

Another
massive reason as to why there is little information regarding gang crime is
due to the offences and crimes usually not getting reported to the Police
Forces while young individuals involved in gang activity also do not identify
themselves as part of a gang when they appear before the courts and in police
interviews. (BBC News, 2011).

 

‘Gang
crime and serious youth crime is often synonymous with knife crime’ is an
example of how certain crime types are linked with gang culture and violence.(House
of Commons Library)

 

With
more organised crime groups or ‘gangs’ they tend to use ‘county lines’ which is
a distribution system harnessed by the criminals in their ruthless pursuit of
money. Rather than just grow their presence in their city they move beyond
setting up networks in other locations which is seeing more vulnerable people
being taken advantage of while the police struggle to deal with the organised
crime gangs. (Liverpool Echo)

 

Gangs in
the United Kingdom cause issues in society when it comes to cohesion within the
local communities. National Social Justice Charity states while that offending
by youth across the board has fallen in the years leading up to 2001 and that Britain
had the lowest crime rates for youth within Europe as a whole. The media didn’t
and still doesn’t recognise this though and continues to label youth as ‘devils
folk’ which in society has caused panic with one and a half million people considered
moving home due to people hanging around the area. (Cohen 1980 and Independent 2006).

 

In 2008
there were seventy and more youths who tragically lost their lives due to gang
related violence in Britain, this includes innocent members of the public who
were not involved in gang crime but were just in the wrong place at the wrong
time. An example of cases were this has happened include Damilola Taylor, Sally
byfeild and more closer to home being the tragic death of Rhys Jones who got
caught up in the cross fire of an failed assignation attempt of another gang
member. It could be said that these cases and many like it have made members of
the public scared of going to areas and cities that are dominated by gangs
which include inner cities, high populated areas and economically deprived
areas (Vigil 2002).

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