The question of whether we (the UK) have a gang problem has led to exceptional levels of Gang Talk. Gang Talkers have pointed to inner city areas such as London, Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester, describing these groups as misunderstood, bored youngsters.
But is this really the case? Could the cause of their behaviour not stem from other factors and unaddressed social issues?
A recent article published by the Telegraph entitled ‘Violent inner-city crime, the figures, and a question of race’ 26 Jun 2010 highlighted facts suggested by official reports. One of which was that the majority of men held responsible by police for gun crimes, robberies and street crimes are black. Further to this, black men are also disproportionately the victims of crime in the capital and vastly over represented in the prison system. Moving away from the issue of race, a United Nations report found that England and Wales generally has one of the worst crime rates among developed nations for rapes, burglaries and robberies.
It is important to consider the various factors that contribute to the formation of young criminal groups such as gangs. For example the lack of meaningful activities, the lack of safety and the lack of jobs; which cause young people to turn to illegimate means in order to survive.
So what should be done about this? Initiatives have been put in place to help keep young people of the streets but they are just not enough. If they are to be effective, they need to appear in numbers, that they may be able to affect the numbers of young people at risk of becoming associated with gang related activity. There needs to be an increase in the amount of facilities available to help, support and nurture these young people.
Every Child Matters, a new approach to the well being of children and young people set out by the government aims for every child to, be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well- being. These are the aspects that these youth centres should focus on. What should we do then to create more of an environment for more initiatives?
© Hannah Richard-Tella 2010