Introduction Is it likely that although gang affiliation is

Introduction

According
to estimates from the National Youth Gang Survey Analysis (2017), there are
over 30,000 gangs operating across the country and translating to around 10
gangs per city. Most of the gangs are concentrated in cities whereby suburban
counties account for half of them. Furthermore, there are more than 850,000
individual gang members most of whom engage in criminal activities, gun
violence and drug related crimes. Data from the FBI shows that gangs are the
key perpetrators of homicides whereby at least 2,000 homicides are committed
annually by gangs (2017). In highly
populated areas, gangs account for at least 67% of all homicides specifically
those areas with populations of more than 100, 000 people and 17% of all
homicides in the suburban areas. This is unlike in rural areas and smaller
cities whereby gangs are implicated in less than 15% of homicides (FBI, 2017).
The major cities affected by gang criminality are Chicago and Los Angeles whereby
over half of all homicides are gang-related. Most of these crimes are due to
drug trade and the gang to gang attempt of controlling the trade. Therefore,
this research proposal seeks to offer guidance on how to conduct a study on the
association between gangs and criminal activities. The goal is to determine
whether there are strong connections between gang membership and criminal
involvement, and how much of those criminal activities is aimed at ordinary
civilians when compared to gang members.

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Theory

The
key theoretical framework asserts that the criminal activities of gang members
are best explained by self-selection, facilitation, and enhancement theory. The
key question is to determine whether gang members exhibit higher involvement in
criminal acts as compared to non-gang members. Is it likely that although gang
affiliation is a function of self-selection, joining a gang by itself does not
account for the higher involvement in crime shown by gang members? This is because
a considerable number of previous studies such as that of Sweeten et al (2013)
and that of Melde, & Esbensen (2013), have revealed that although
membership in a gang is a self-selection utility, membership alone does not
imply greater involvement in criminal activities.

Hypothesis

The
research will be based on three hypotheses that seek to show the link between
gang membership and crime. The first one is based on the self-selection theory which
asserts that individuals who have high propensity to be involved with a gang have
a high probability of getting involved in criminal acts (Matsuda et al, 2013). This
hypothesis is based on population heterogeneity description criminology theory which
asserts that gangs do not entirely influence an individual involvement in criminal
acts but that the urge to sustain that membership is what drives an individual
to criminal activities (Decker et al, 2013).

The
second hypothesis is facilitation theory which asserts that membership in a
gang drives an individual to more criminal acts due to creation of strong socio-cultural
attachment (Alleyne & Wood, 2013). The argument is that the behavioral
stimuli and inspirations of a gang are essentially normative because individuals
become more attached to the group social bonds and economic goals. The question
here is whether crimes and interpersonal aggression among gang members is
higher as compared to those people with no gang affiliation.

The
third hypothesis is enhancement theory which it seeks to answer the association
between membership in a gang and crime based on a combination of selection and
facilitation model (Pyrooz et al, 2015). The argument is that kids and young
people are susceptible to gang membership when gangs are prevalent in their neighborhoods,
and would quickly raise their level of criminal activities so as to self-select
into a gang.