Street gangs remain a serious problem for the criminal justice in the United States. Traditionally, gangs have emerged in a local setup perpetrating criminal acts on the streets, parks, and in the malls. They were not known to operate outside the local setting. However, maintaining such a view in fighting gang crime in the modern environment is highly limiting. The nature and scope of gangs as well as the modus operandi have been changing over the years, especially given their involvement in organized crime and distribution of drugs. Hence, it is time the law enforcement changed the view of the street gangs in order to devise more effective strategies in dealing with the crime.
Street gangs are a notorious problem in the United States, with major impact on crime. Interest has been increasing on the nature, scope, and impact of the problem for a clearer understanding as well as devising of effective approaches to dealing with it. The view of street gangs as being localized isolated and having minimal threat outside the sphere of influence is limiting in the efforts by the law enforcement officials in dealing with this crime. It is also limiting to consider sufficient knowledge of where they have the most influence and the criminal behaviors they are most likely to engage in. Evidently, if it was that simple, then the gangs could be very easy to eliminate.
The most complete view of street gangs should be beyond the street rhetorical because this conventional view has allowed them to persist and continue to wreak havoc in the country. Some studies have revealed a close connection between the street gangs and organized crime, meaning that their impact is greater than conventionally believed (Abadinsky, 2017). While they are local groupings, they have influence that goes beyond the local settings, especially when they are working together with the major organized criminal groups. Conventionally, the street gangs had the localized identity and operated within the local setting. However, it is critical to realize that things have mainly changed in the modern age, with ease of communication and movement from one place to another. The reality is that the localized operations and influence should be avoided if the law enforcement on the criminal gangs has to be effective. The durability of the gangs indicates that the current strategies for dealing with the problem are flawed.
It is a reality that the gangs tend to be street-oriented given the reality that most of their activities are carried out on the streets, inside malls, and parks. In addition, they tend to act in the public sphere. Conventionally, gangs have engaged in minor criminal activities, but their modus operandi has been changing in the recent years. The nature and scope of the gangs have not remained the same over the years. Street gangs are in existence in all parts of the country. Some have become predominantly violent urban gangs, expanding to the suburbs and some rural parts of the country from the inner cities. They are now presenting a major threat to smaller communities as well as controlling major retail-level distribution of drugs countrywide (The US Department of Justice, 2017). Increasingly, they are being used by the organized criminal groups to engage in wholesale-level distribution of drugs (Abadinsky, 2017). The actions are becoming harder to predict every day, which means that it is no longer ideal to view them as localized and having an influence in a localized sphere.
From the perspective of the street gangs being influenced by organized crime, it is no longer in the interest of law enforcement to view them through the local lens. It is possible for the major criminal groupings to be in control over more than a single gang in one local area. The reality is that these criminal groups require the gangs to perpetrate their criminal activities on a large scale. Thus, the establishment and use of the gangs has an influence that goes beyond the local setting, to the national arena. Therefore, a change in the view of the gangs might help in devising more effective strategies.