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A Gang of Issues

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A Gang of Issues: The Problems Facing Law Enforcement Dealing With Gangs
Krystal Crawford
CRJ 320 Professor Wilson February 03, 2013

Gangs have plagued America since the inception of the first American big city. They have often been thought of as seedy, shadow dwelling street thugs that manage to draw together based on a common desire to undertake unlawful behavior. However, while the desire might be the same, the image is often quite different. Crimes that involve gangs of the many sorts present unique challenges to police officers and investigators. On top of the already difficult task of apprehending suspects involved in crimes, officers dealing with suspects involved in gang activity also have to deal with a host of other challenges. Of these challenges a few garner a deeper look, such as how some legislation and lack of definition can actually work against the police, the inability to adequately define gang involvement and activity, and how officers can balance keeping gang related crime in check while not violating the rights of all citizens. Modeling themselves after professional organized crime units, the common street gang is all but a thing of the past but they currently present officers with a challenge that demands a fully dedicated unit in most states. Along with the obvious headache involved in funding such a unit, officers must stay abreast of the trends, the current changes in legislatures, and developing laws. Street gangs find their roots in Europe as early as the 14th century when they were a loosely structured group of adolescents who robbed carriages and split the spoils (Howell & Moore, 2010). Not much changed from this simple beginning, with the more structured gangs of the 1600’s who committed petty vandalism and loitering, generally terrorizing small cities, with each group distinguishing themselves from…...

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