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Crime File: Drugs - Youth Gangs

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Following the portrayal of the nature and activities of juvenile gangs in Los Angeles, this video presents a panel discussion of gang involvement in drug trafficking, sociological explanations of gangs, and strategies for countering gangs.
The first segment of the video portrays Los Angeles juvenile gangs as organized around criminal activities and violence. Various officials interviewed in the segment recommend early education and intervention with youth and families to prevent attitudes and behaviors that encourage the joining of gangs. Law Enforcement, i.e., the sanctioning of gang criminal behavior, is viewed as one aspect of a comprehensive approach for addressing the gang problem. In the panel presentation, Steve Valdivia, executive director of the Community Youth Gang Services in Los Angeles, explains gangs as the product of ethnic neighborhood segregation, the development of self-hate among minorities, and weak family life. Commander Lorne Kramer of the Los Angeles Police Department emphasizes the importance of police becoming familiar with individual gang members and their behaviors so as to target serious offenders. Malcolm Klein, professor of sociology at the University of California, attributes gangs to the sociological forces operative in inner cities. The panel discusses the centrality of drug use and drug trafficking in the operations of many gangs and gang members.

Date Published: January 1, 1990