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Policing Gangs in Todays Society Gang violence has posed a major problem for law enforcement in the last twenty years Although overall homicide rates in the United States have declined between the 1980s and the 1990s youth homicide rates particularly incidents involving firearms have increased dramatically In the past the police would assign responsibility for gang control to units such as patrol juvenile bureaus community relations investigations and crime prevention Policing Gangs and Youth Violence 2003 pg 17 In the 1980s many police departments established specialized units for gang control including what is known as the police gang unit A police gang unit is a secondary or tertiary functional division within a police organization which has at least one sworn officer whose sole function is to engage in gang control efforts Policing Gangs and Youth Violence pg 17 Because of the rise and growth of gangs law enforcement has shifted from traditional to community and problem-oriented policing to address youth gang problems In this paper I plan to give a brief insight on how some law enforcement agencies are attempting to use community and problem-oriented policing to address youth gang problems I will discuss the methods used by different cities in the US to prevent and control crime and the effectiveness of these methods In the city of Boston gang violence sent the homicide rate skyrocketing particularly in the 1990s Although gang violence was really exposed to the public eye in the 1980s Boston officials didnt acknowledge gang violence at this time As a result youth homicides peaked at 73 in 1990 which is almost triple the average According to researchers this sudden increase in Boston youth homicide was strongly associated with firearms Researchers discovered that between 1988 and 1995 74 percent of youth victims were killed with firearms In response to the upswing of violence law enforcement began to take initiative by creating new policy and programs aimed at reducing youth violence which
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