Topic: Essay Example

Gang Related Behavior- Intervention Measures 4

Gang problem among many youth groups in different cities has become a major issue to the police and the community at large. Different strategies to combat gang formations and gang-related behavior have been introduced which mainly revolve around both coercive and developmental approaches.

Policing involves introduction of intervention measures by the police to combat gang-related behavior among the youth. Such measures may include gang suppression and removal of youth in public spaces through legislative means. Suppression tactics range from name checks, move on powers by the police and the search for dangerous and prohibited items (Mitchell & Wong, 2002). Laws for instance in New South Wales allow the police to take young people from public spaces on the basis that they are capable of committing crime or are at risk of being affected by crime.

Weapons are very common work tools by gang members. Strategies that help in combating the carrying of weapons include conducting campaigns in the community with a view of discouraging carrying of offensive items, legislation and enactment of laws that prohibit the same, assurance to members of the public of their safety by the police and finally, negotiations by adult community members and the police on prohibition of parental approval with regard to carrying of weapons.

Coercion becomes inevitable when gangs become too extreme and defy negotiations. It is at this point that aggressive street policing is employed (Howell, 2000). Approaches employed include introduction of patrols that make arrests on suspected gang members, curfew enforcement when gang members are encountered and strict enforcement of laws and regulations that require school and police collaborations. Although such aggressive measures have been criticized, there is a basic agreement that indeed selective coercive measures are effective (Mitchell & Wong, 2002).

The community plays a vital role with regard to the effectiveness of street-based coercive approaches. This is due to various reasons such as gang members’ affiliation to the community, dependency of community on criminal economies and gang membership perception by adult members as protection for each other. There emerges a need therefore for policy development at the community level. An effective gang problem-solving model at this level involves scanning and identification of gang problem, analysis and investigation of the problem in detail, response to the problem by way of surveying the appropriate approach to the same and finally, assessment of the effectiveness of the strategy employed.

Specific community strategies that can be employed include the involvement of youth in recreation and leisure programs. However, it is important to note that social differences must be catered for in any approach to the community whether for the youth or the community. These include religious and cultural differences. Additionally, such interventions must develop a sense of pride in the community (Howell, 2000). This is because young people in stigmatized communities are more likely to be in gangs than others because a bad reputation yields a gang mentality in a bid by the youth to defend and reassert themselves in that community.

Gang –related behavior and gang members pose a risk to the community at large. It is therefore important that effective strategies are formulated to deal with such behavior. However, if so much coercion is used in mitigating such behavior, I believe gang members become more hard-headed as opposed to changing behavior and attitude. The police must also be friendly in their approach if any results of positive change are expected.


Howell, J. (2000). Youth gang programs and strategies: Summary. Washington DC: USA Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Deliquency Prevention

Mitchell, M. & Wong, D. (2002) Police and gangs: a ‘moral panic’ or simply a practical problem for policing? Paper presented at the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology conference Brisbane 3 October 2002.