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Strain Theory

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In low-income areas, many people don't think twice when it comes to joining a gang.

Many gang members feel that there isn't any other way to fix their problems and this leads them

to enter into a life of criminal activities and a life of extra problems. This is a just one example of

how Merton's Strain theory comes into play in a gang member's life. These individuals don't

think that there's another way to fix their life because they don't have the resources to get what

they want or to be what they want to be. The feel that they can't reach the American dream that

everyone tries to reach.

With many low-income households, there lacks some closeness that individuals need to

feel loved. So because gangs offer a sense of closeness, many of these boys decide to join

because they are welcomed and are shown love. For many boys, the need of a family type

closeness is what leads them into this organization and because they want to be praised and many

of them seek approval, they will go along with whatever is asked of them, whether it be selling

drugs, killing someone, or whatever else is asked of them.

The strain theory gives us an idea of why crimes are committed. It's a partial answer a to

why we have this issue with gangs. Yes many people in these areas with high gang activity don't

have a much of a choice to join a gang, but many others tend to focus on staying out of these

gangs and try to become successful without committing crimes. Yes many people look towards

gangs because it gives them a sense of family ties, but as by Logan (2009), even a loved person

from a middle class family that has many opportunities would and could join a gang. This theory

doesn't give an entire reason why someone would join a gang.

Delinquency is defined as failure to do what law or duty requires. It is a behavior that is often a result of poverty and inopportunity in a youth's life. Often those who cannot obtain what they need through conventional means will use unconventional means such as crime to obtain such necessities. In many cases a youth will find the unconventional means by joining a gang. In a gang, they may find friendship, money but most of all and opportunity



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