Middle-Class Delinquency and Its Relation to Gangs

Middle-Class Delinquency and its Relation to Gangs


Meyerhof et al. (2001: 328-335), defined delinquency as the unwillingness of persons to do what is expected by an obligation or rule. Owing to adversity or a shortage of opportunity in the lives of young people, criminal activity frequently occurs. Greeley et al (2005: 33-41) observed that the youths who cannot get what they desire or need in life through conventional means will often use the unconventional means like crime to get the necessities they need. Most often a youth will get to know the unconventional means by being part of a gang. As Lowney (2009: 527-38) observed, in a gang, a youth will find money, friendship and above all to get what they need. The paper will discuss the middle class delinquency relationship to the gangs.

In order to understand the relationship between the middle class delinquencies to gang, it is of great importance for five issues to be addressed. To begin, gang must be differentiated from other forms of peer groups. Gao (2002: 8-26) observed that some youths are organized into groups but are not gangs. Secondly, attention must be paid to the relationship strength between being in a gang and the delinquency of the members. Thirdly, the focus should be on the importance of learning from the peers despite being generalized into gangs. The fourth issue involves the peer group solidarity effect in causing delinquency.

 Because of the importance of giving consideration to the similarity of the peers to a gang, getting involved in delinquency and other activities, and the peers solidarity should be treated as variables. Peer groups that resemble a gang among the middle class stimulate delinquency when the members feel the strong solidarity sense in their group. Furthermore, it may be that the likeness of the gang is related to the delinquency of the individuals when combined with the delinquency of other members. Similarly, it may be that the peer’s delinquency combined with solidarity is the predictor of the delinquency of an individual (Salzinger et al, 2006: 232-266).

Middle-Class Delinquency and its Relation to Gangs