My latest release:
deals with gang violence. Especially gangs targeting our youth. When researching Fear No Evil, I was greatly disturbed by the statistics around teen gangs. Take the following information, taken from Teen Gang Statistics :
By 2002, teen gang problems were back on the rise, particularly in the larger areas, and the most recent figures, from 2006, show a continuation of that trend. From 1999-2001 to 2006, Rural counties saw an increase of 1.5% to 14.9%. Smaller cities reported an increase of 6.7% to 32.6%. Suburban counties, though, had an increase of 10.2% for a total of 51%. And Larger cities rose 8.8% to 86.4%.
These gang statistics, however, do not tell the whole story. It is interesting to note that the majority of reports from smaller cities and rural counties, even with the increasing numbers of gangs, had no gang-related homicides, i.e., no homicides in which either a victim or a perpetrator was a gang member. Cities having populations of over 100,000 people, by contrast, tended to have at least one gang-related homicide.
While homicide was not closely associated with teen gang activity in all cases, other crimes carried a more significant link. In 2006, areas that reported an increase of gang-related crime found that it occurred in these areas, and in this order of frequency:
The factors that were indicated as most important in increasing the level of gang-related violence were, in order of reporting:
conflicts between gangs
factors related to drugs
migration of gang members within the United States
the rise of newly formed gangs
the return to the area of gang members who had been incarcerated
conflicts within gangs
migration of gang members from outside of the United States
Statistically Likely Signs of Teen Gang Involvement
Teens who exhibit multiple instances of the following signs may be involved in gang activity. These signs do not guarantee gang involvement, and especially when considered alone, may be representative of something entirely different.
knowingly associates with gang members
uses secret codes or signals to communicate with associates
fixates on particular colors of clothing or a particular logo used on clothing and to decorate other items: this may include posters, tattoos, jewelry, etc.
has unexplained physical injuries that seem related to fighting
has more cash or more valuable possessions than one might reasonably expect
shows particular interest in gang activities, gang-related media and entertainment, etc.
raises police interest
withdraws from family, school, and community activities
breaks his/her curfew and other rules
is determinedly secretive
exhibits declines in school performance
Robin again: Gang violence is something that affects us all...it's snatching our youth. More on Monday about gangs and what we can do!