GREAT Crime Prevention Program Essay P.1

 Analysis of Gang Resistance Education and Training Crime Prevention Program

As the United States has progressed into the 21st century, one of the major problems identified in inner cities, smaller cities, and towns across the nation is gang violence. One may observe a connection between social learning theories and an individual’s interactions with local gangs. Esbensen and Osgood (1999) write that “the American gang scene is poorly understood and is a source of great public concern, in spite of years of research and years of suppression and intervention efforts” (p 1). If this is the case, then a greater understanding of how social theories affect individuals and their perceptions of the importance of gang related activities can assist in the assessment of various public crime reduction programs like the Gang Resistance Education and Training Crime Prevention G.R.E.A.T. program using a scientific program evaluation process and assist in understanding how these programs are positively and negatively affecting the community.
Understanding Gangs and Gang Dynamics

Individuals react negatively to the phrase gang through personal experience, media, music, and movies; however, what individuals see depicted is not necessarily the entire truth behind gangs. While a lack of consensus exists in identifying the sheer volume of the gang problem, many can easily identify and agree that a high rate of criminal activity exists among gangs and gang members (Esbensen & Osgood, 1999). Esbensen and Osgood (1999) state that in the 1990s gang membership and criminal activity of gangs had increased significantly. However, the question remains why are the number of gang members increasing even with information on how destructive gangs can be to an individual later on in life or how deadly they can be when faced with violence between rival gangs? One method of explaining the rise in activity is through social processing theories.


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