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NCJ Number: 199859 Find in a Library
Title: Confronting Transnational Gangs in the Americas
Journal: Journal of Gang Research  Volume:10  Issue:2  Dated:Winter 2003  Pages:33-44
Author(s): Joseph Rogers Ph.D.
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 12
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article identifies the characteristics of transnational youth gangs in the Americas, considers policies that exacerbate the situation, and describes some approaches used to minimize the influence of these gangs in certain countries of the Western Hemisphere.
Abstract: A "youth gang" is defined as "a group of 12- to 24-year-old members, variable in size and organization, engaged in violent behavior, and characterized by communal or symbolic and often economic considerations, such as drug trafficking, burglary, robbery, and auto theft" (U.S. Department of Justice, 1994). "Transnationalism" generally refers to the embedded social processes that cross physical (geographic), cultural, and political boundaries. "Globalization" refers to a process in which more and more people, goods, currency, and information flow across international borders. Reports from states throughout the hemisphere, especially among countries with high immigration and emigration rates, indicate youth from many countries increasingly are participating in the drug trade, use drugs, form gangs, and engage in violence and other high-risk behaviors. As a result, the youth of some migratory groups of the Hemisphere are increasingly identified as perpetrators of violent and serious crimes. When deported from the United States, gang members bring the street-gang culture of the United States with them to their countries of origin. Transnational gangs have exploited the openness that has come with increased trade among the countries of the Americas. Gang members have often crossed national borders with impunity, with many returning to the United States after being deported. Others routinely cross borders to maintain links with gang members in a number of countries. This facilitates a variety of illegal cross-border activities, including drug trafficking. In 1986 the Organization of American States (OAS) created the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission in an attempt to promote and facilitate multilateral cooperation to control the use, production, and trafficking of illicit drugs and combat drug-related crime. Youth gangs and violence are among the most pressing social issues confronting OAS member states. The stated objective of OAS anti-gang efforts has been to incorporate the social service, law enforcement, health, education, immigration, nongovernmental and other institutions, and key policymakers at each level into a multilateral program to combat youth gangs in the Americas. The multilateral component is to be achieved by providing technical assistance and training to anti-gang projects throughout the hemisphere. This effort includes the establishment of a single point of contact or "gang czar" within member states, who will coordinate the multilateral efforts to combat transnational gangs. Future multilateral and international anti-gang efforts should focus on strengthening local anti-gang programs and connecting these with others throughout the hemisphere. 11 references and 6 notes
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): Drug smuggling; Gang involvement in organized crime; Gang violence; Juvenile gang behavior patterns; North America; Organization of American States; Transnational Crime; Transnational Organized Crime
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