Section IV - Conclusions, Gangs and the
A Research Note and End Note
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Conclusions - Part 1
Except for quotations drawn from other researchers' works and one or two interview subjects who mentioned the "gang
problem," I never placed the words gang and problem together in
this book. Gangs are not the problem. They are a
problem - for the youths who join them, the justice system, their victims,
and the entire community. Gangs are a symptom of the problems. If we want to reduce gang activity
meaningfully and over the long-term, we need to define the problem as the
conditions which cause gangs to form and lead some youths to join them.
Those conditions or causes of gang formation and gang joining are referred to as "risk
factors." To overcome them, communities develop "protective
factors" which inhibit the risk factors. We will review the risk- and
protective factors in the Solutions section of Into the Abyss.
The following are conclusions drawn from the previous sections Into
the Abyss and are presented in the order in which they originally appeared. The solutions offered in the next section of
the book are based upon these
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title of a conclusion you
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which it is based.
The Social Institutional Perspective: The
greatest reason for the formation of gangs is the degeneration of a
neighborhood's social institutions (i.e., family, school, faith, commerce,
government). The clearest path to reducing gang activity and youth
violence is the regeneration and rebuilding of those social institutions.
The Spigot and the Spill: Focusing
on intervention and suppression efforts to reduce gang activity and youth
violence to the exclusion of prevention is pure folly. Unless we turn off
the spigot - the causes of gang formation, we will never finish cleaning
up the spill - the existing gang population.
Gangs are Not the Problem: Gangs
are not the problem. They are a symptom of the problems
which cause them to form and some youths to join them. If the problem is
defined incorrectly it can never be solved.
The "Problem" and
Stories of Denial
I learned several important things about the "problem" and
|Different people perceive of "the problem"
concerning gangs differently. A consensus concerning
what the problems are will facilitate their solution.|
|The perceived problems associated with gangs
are wide spread and impact entire communities and their
neighborhoods in a variety of ways.|
|Communities can ill afford to deny a gang presence when there is one.
Fear and panic are inappropriate and unproductive responses. Intelligent data
gathering and investigating ways in which similarly situated communities have
handled their gang situations are appropriate initial responses.|
The next three Parts of the Conclusions each deal
with a different Section of What I Learned about Gangs.
Michael K. Carlie
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission in
writing from the author and copyright holder - Michael K. Carlie.