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1CRJ 462Gang Research PaperIntroductionGangs pose a serious threat to the safety of communities across the nation. Gang members are largely responsible for the growing percentage of crime and violence in many communities across the United States. Gang related criminal activity includes auto theft, assault, burglary, drive-by shootings, home invasion, human smuggling, identity theft, illegal drug activity, and murder [Cen09]. Property crimes can be as minor as spray painting gang-related graffiti on the buildings of local businesses and abandoned houses to armed home invasions. Gang activity increases the incidence of violent crime compared to other areas unaffected by gang activity. Suburban and rural areas have become vulnerable to gang related activity due to the expansion of the illegal drug trade into these communities by urban gangs and their associated members. Overall, there is no community that is completely safe from possible gang activity. Gang activity is known to increase crime rates and has the potential to create violence inthe community. These two reasons are why communities need to have programs in place to actively prevent possiblegang formation and address any current gang activity to reduce the incidence of crime and violence. In order to develop an effective plan to address gang problems within the community, it is important to understand the history of gangs and the reasons behind gang membership. Formation of U.S. Street Gangs The formation ofstreet gangs in the United States is directly tied to U.S. immigration patterns and the poverty created by the massive influx of these arrivals which creates social disorganization [How12]. The first wave of U.S. immigrants were white Europeans of English, German, and Irish descent. They arrived in New York City to find housing and jobs in short supply. New to the country, these immigrants struggled to survive in the poverty stricken slums of New York City which were prone to high rates of crime and violence. Seeking protection and security from the crime and violence of the slums, these immigrants formed the first U.S. street gangs. These gangs created a mutual bond between these immigrants as they struggled to gain status in the United States. A second waveof immigration brought the Poles, Austrians, and Italians along with the Chinese followed by a third wave of immigration of African Americans and Latinos. All of these U.S. immigrants faced similar challenges and were