Gangs: A Guide to Understanding Street Gangs

Prison gangs are security threat groups

The department of correction refers to prison gangs as security threats because the gangs are actively involved in compromising the security of the prison wardens and other prisoners that are not members of the groups. The security threat groups are normally involved in drug trafficking within the prisons, murders, and rape among many other criminal activities that undermine security in the incarceration centers. Prison gangs are not just referred to as gangs because they are well connected, and they have the potential to cause serious security threats in and out of prison. These capabilities make the difference between the prison gangs and the normal small street gangs (Brook, 2011).

Aryan Brotherhood

According to the FBI, the Aryan Brotherhood is one of the most dangerous prison gangs in the United States. One of the factors that have led to the lethal status of the gang is its members’ ability to hide from the authorities. It has become a lethal gang because of its highly successful crimes and the financial capabilities of its leaders.

Circumstances like its large number of members being in the incarceration centers, and it deals with drug trafficking, murders, and rape makes the Aryan Brotherhood, one of the most dangerous gangs. Members of the gang are in different states, and they have different names that identify their association with the larger Aryan Brotherhood (Brook, 2011).

Impact of gangs in the military

Gangs within the military are able to operate freely because their members acquire leadership functions in the forces. The gang members are normally a project of the leaders of the street gangs to develop connections in the military. Their main aim could be the development of a powerful network to conduct their criminal activities.

They also send their members to join the military so that they can acquire modern warfare skills, which they later teach other members of the gang. Gangs operate easily when their members acquire leadership positions in the military. When they have members in the leadership function of the organization, they can easily engage in crimes like drug trafficking and facilitating criminal activities for their group members in the streets (Valdez, 2009).

International connection of gangs

The military is one of the viable avenues that the gangs in the United States get international connections. The DREAM Act has particularly been criticized for enabling illegal immigrants in the United States to join the military. The DREAM Act does not allow illegal immigrants to be enlisted in the military, but there are many cases of the immigrants being enlisted through fake documents.

This loophole is a threat to the nation because there is never a guarantee that the illegal immigrants who get enlisted are not members of criminal gangs in their homeland. In case a member of a gang operating in the immigrant’s nation gets enlisted, he or she can act as a link with members of the local gangs within the military. This link creates an international connection for the respective gangs (Berger, 2011).

Street Gangs and the cartels connection

The most important goal of the cartels in Mexico is to cross their drugs into the U.S. with the minimal risks. The organizations in Mexico have identified the power of the street gangs in some cities in the U.S., and they have developed ties to ensure the drug trafficking and the sale process is as successful as possible. Street gangs have connections with law enforcers, and they can easily bypass security checks while transporting drugs. Doing business with the cartels eliminates the need for middlemen in the business, and it increases profits for the members of the street gangs (Valdez, 2009).

Transnational gangs are threats to the local community

The Mara Salvatrucha gang threatens to increase the number of illegal immigrants in the United States. The Mara Salvatrucha is one of the transnational gangs that have infiltrated many states across the United States, and moved to other nations like Mexico and Canada. The gang is majorly composed of people from the Central American ethnicity; hence, some of their criminal activities are ethnically-oriented. The gang is actively engaged in illegal smuggling of people from Mexico to the United States, and they make the streets very unsafe because the immigrants have to earn a living through crimes (Valdez, 2009).

Gang suppression and prevention partnerships

Law enforcers, community groups, and individuals must cooperate in the suppression of gangs and prevention of international partnerships for the gangs. Law enforcers need to enhance the security provided to the people who engage in community policing. The law enforcers involved in the suppression missions should also be screened thoroughly to ensure that are not members of the gangs. Individuals and groups in the community should also be compelled to help law enforcers in identifying gang members (Valdez, 2009).

TARGET as a gang reduction program

The TARGET program is a viable measure to suppress gangs in the community. The multi-agency approach used in the program enhances the chances of success in reducing the number of lethal gang members in the streets (Multiagency Initiatives, 2014). It also provides a strategy to help the younger gang members to reform; hence, it has the potential to reduce the number of gangs in the streets (Valdez, 2009). The program uses suppression and prevention features to deal with the issue of street gangs in the United States.


Berger, J. (2011). Obama Administration to review all deportation cases, apply DREAM Act-style criteria. Web.

Brook, J. L. (2011). Blood In, Blood Out: The Violent Empire of the Aryan Brotherhood. California: SCB Distributors.

Multiagency Initiatives. (2014). Web.

Valdez, A. J. (2009). Gangs: A Guide to Understanding Street Gangs (5th ed.). San Clemente, CA: Law Tech Publishing.