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Gangs throughout inner cities among young people are not new to our culture Youth gangs have been a major part of the urban cultural landscape since the late 19th century In the more recent 20th century however gangs have taken on a different character and have moved from inner cities and closer to homes in suburban areas Bodinger-deUriarte C 1993 At the same time gangs have become an increasing problem in urban areas and worst of all in public schools The majority of gangs share many common characteristics Although there are exceptions gangs tend to develop along racial and ethnic lines and are typically 90 male Bodinger-deUriarte C 1993 Gang members usually show their association and pride through distinct styles of dress and through specific activities and patterns of behavior Gangs almost always show strong devotion to their neighborhood often marking out their territory with graffiti All of these representations can be visible in the schools The specifics of gang style and activity can vary tremendously from gang to gang and can even change rapidly within individual gangs For instance African American gangs tend to confine their activities to their own communities while gangs like the Hells Angels now have members nationwide In contrast Asian gangs often travel thousands of kilometers from their home base in order to conduct their activities Bodinger-de Uriarte C 1993 In addition African Americans and Hispanic gangs are much more likely to display their colors than are Asian gangs Gangs also vary tremendously in numbers and in age range Relatively few young people join gangs despite their high profile in the media Even in highly impacted areas the degree of participation rarely exceeds 10 percent In addition it has been reported that less than 2 percent of all juvenile crime is gang related Bodringer-de Uriarte C 1993 Low statistics like the above may camouflage the impact that
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