In recent years, we had been shocked by news involving teenagers in gangsterism activities. According to a research paper, a criminal organization (gang)is composed of three or more persons and that has as one of its main purposes of one or more serious offenses that, if committed, would likely result in the direct or indirect receipt of a material benefit, including a financial benefit. (Frank A. Beazley, 2003). The problem of gangsterism is always a concern by society because it is the problem linked to youngsters. All of this can make them have the rest of life in jail or face the death penalty.
Many schools have reinforced policies to deal with the issue of violence. Despite the existence of these policies violence, physical and sexual abuse and gang activities are still happening around. Gangsterism is regarded as one of the sources of school violence. Many factors to the schools have been found to contribute to the gangsterism phenomenon.
So, why they choose to become a gangster and break the law instead of being a normal and good person. The first factor is the socio-economic background of a person. The environment they were raised, the people he or she is surrounded by, and so on. The study from Kamla-Raj (2014) on gangsterism among youth reveals that socio-economic background plays a major role in driving youth to gangsterism. Because of the poverty environments, they came from, many young men are drawn into the gang arena by the attraction of money, power, and glamour. Also, a news article from FMT News stated that “In poor communities, youths may feel that life is tough and their living conditions are less than desirable. The gangs exploit this by showing them a life they’ve not experienced, such as buying them things they cannot afford. (Robin Augustin, 17th August 2018)
Next, parents are also one of the factors that contribute to gangsterism. The relationship between parents and children has an impact on shaping the children’s personality. Parents nowadays are busy earning money for the family and do not have enough time to spend with their children. As an effect of lack of love and attention from parents, the children will tend to do mischievous stuff or gangster activities to grab their parent’s attention. News article from New Straits Times (August 12th, 2018) states that “Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) senior vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said that child and youth psychology experts have revealed that children currently lack positive adult role models at home and school, and tend to show aggressive behavior.
Students spend about 8 to 9 hours per day in school, and that is almost half of the day in school. It also means the time students spend with their schoolmates and friends will most probably more than the time they spend with their parents. Peer group plays an important role in molding a person’s character. Challenges from peer groups will make them not feel frightened anymore when doing bad things, especially in school. Teenagers usually tend to share their problems with friends rather than discussing them with their families. For them, only friends will understand better their feelings so, whatever their friends do, they will follow it even they know it is a wrong act.
So, to overcome the problem, school authorities can hold more motivational and awareness talks for the students. The talks can encourage teenagers to think positively and instill good moral values in them. The police department can be invited to give special talks on gangsterism. They can give information to students about the consequences that would be faced by them if they are caught for gangsterism. Government agencies can also send their officers to give a talk on the impact of staying in prison and why choose to become prisoners when you can avoid them.
For those who are already a member of the gang, a counseling session should be given to them to instill the right values into them. Teachers must monitor the movement and status of students. For students who give information about gangsterism in schools will be rewarded for their good deeds. Parents must have adequate skills to protect their children from gangster activities in schools. Students involved in gang fights should be severely punished by the school.
Last but not least, the government should reinforce the existing law. The news article (FMT News) featuring a senior officer said the primary concern of his division was to take hardcore gangsters off the streets, and that this could be achieved through the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca). (Robin Augustin, 17th August 2018). POCA’s main target is to tackle organized crime, money laundering, criminal gang activities, and racketeering. Punishment in form of imprisonment and fines should be strictly imposed on those who break the law. Reinforcement of the law will surely scare the gang members and will not break the laws. (Dan Plato, 8th March 2016)
In a conclusion, after completing the case study on gangsterism among teenagers, I realize that the community cannot blame the individuals alone for being involved in the gang or criminal activities. Although the individual’s personality may be one of the factors of making them join gangs and conduct criminal activities, the family, school, and communities also play an important role in shaping the individuals. To overcome gangsterism effectively, the very first step would be changing the common perspectives ( gangsters are a group of “rubbish” that will only disturb the peace of a country and give no benefits to the country) of communities on the gangsters. I think every level of the community should pay more attention to them and overcome the problem. Shaping a peaceful and joyful country that everyone desires to live in, does not solely depend on the government, but the hard works of every citizen of the country.