Discussion Forum 10: How Can We Organize Neighborhoods?

As we are learning about the criminogenic (causing crime) characteristics of neighborhoods, it is important to think about how we can overcome disorganization and organize the communities, instead. Read Starting with My Own Neighborhood: Johari James’ Vision of a Thriving Black & Brown Community

What else can we do to engage the members of impoverished communities to create social organization in neighborhoods? Look around The Laundromat Project, overall, for some other ideas.

Please leave at least three comments. One is your original contribution. And two comments are you replies to your classmates. Deadline: 11/06/22, 11:59 pm. 

Midweek Update

Dear students,

I have just finished looking at your hard work in this class. I have graded all your work. Good job to the 8 students who submitted Short Assignment 3. It is not too late to submit your work if you haven’t done so earlier. If you received less than 50/50 on your Short Assignment 3, please take a look at my comment and update your post accordingly (and then email me).

Tomorrow, your Exam 3 will become available. You will have until Sunday, December 4th to take it. After this week, you will have one more assignment, a discussion form (or two), and Exam 4. Please get in touch with me if you need any help with any assignment.

Tommy Enlighten

The social disorganization theory is the theory I choose for Tommy Shakur Ross because he sounds like a young person who looked up to others and aspired to be more but didn’t know how. Tommy believed that joining a game would help him feel more at home because he was affected by his surroundings and where he lived. Shakur grew up in an impoverished, gang-infested area of South Central Los Angeles in the 1980s. At the age of 13, Shakur was impressed by the Eight Tray gang’s culture and how close-knit and family-like they were. According to social disorganization theory, people’s actions are more strongly influenced by the quality of their social relationships and physical environment than by rational thought. Shakur’s friends, with whom he began to associate and befriend, are what led to his demise in gang affiliations and crime.

Short Assignment # 3 Ear hustle.

I believe the theory that best fits Tommy Shakur’s choice to join a gang is Agnew’s General Theory of Strain. The general strain theory is a theory constructed by Robert Agnew. It states that violence, particularly criminal violence, results from straining emotions such as depression, frustration, and anger. In the podcast, Shakur relived a moment from when he was younger.” I went to this taco stand, and, after ordering my food, three young men approached me, and they was like, “Where you from, Blood?” I’m like, “I’m from nowhere, man.” So, one of them flinches at me, you know, as to make me jump. Then, another one, he grabs the bag of tacos. And then, and then, another one hit me. I tried fighting them, but I was overwhelmed because it was like three to one. So, I ran. I’m running down the street, and I’m crying. I’m feeling like I’ve been humiliated because they took my tacos. So, I was, I was really mad, man. I was really upset. So, that’s when I decided I was going to join a gang” (00:06:27.20). At that moment, Shakur felt many emotions directly related to this theory which is anger. He felt that having the support of a gang would spare him from moments like this. He felt as though being in a gang gave him a sense of togetherness and purpose. But after his incarceration, he soon realized that being in a gang was not the choice to make.

It is Monday!

Dear students,

We are still in Week 12, as I thought it made no sense to start a whole new unit. We will pick up a new unit the following week.

Meanwhile, please continue contributing to the forum and working on the assignments. I will start grading the submissions soon.

I will have my regular office hours today at 1 pm and on Tuesday from 9:45 am to 10:45 am. These days, I am also available on ZOOM: https://bmcc-cuny.zoom.us/j/3772687009

I can also meet with you via ZOOM by appointment.

Short Assignment #3

For Tommy Shakur, he wanted to be socially involved when he first encountered a gang member at a young age, from being addicted to stealing cause it happened to himself and wanted to create more violence then what he has heard. He was also amazed from the togetherness and how it was a different view then he had before, he was dedicated to be apart of the gang by his own friends but through time, he was backstabbed by his friends and wasn’t aware of the damage he had to go through to be apart of one. He became apart of the gang, but at the cost of the time he had to do, Tommy being under the influence to be a valued gang member by his own group and not thinking about the consequences he also had when he was still apart of the gang and was arrested at 19 years old, putting together the problems he had created upon himself.

Assignment #3 Podcast

Youth gangs are widespread across the country, and they require special attention. Incorporating theories such as interactional theory can be helpful in comprehending the psychological processes involved in gang groups. After listening to the podcast, I thought the social disorganization theory best explains the involvement of Tommy Ross Shakur in crimes and gangs. The social disorganization theory was created by two criminology researchers called, Henry D. McKay and Shaw Clifford, in 1942 in Chicago. The theory states that location and the environment are mainly responsible for decisions made by individuals. The type of neighborhood or surrounding is vital in determining the illegal activities the youths engage in or the ones present in the environment. Shakur grew up in south-central Los Angeles, California. His family was respectable as his father was a Baptist minister and his mother a nurse. Shakur felt like his parents were not supporting his dreams as they wanted him to do something contrary to his passion. Shakur thus engaged in frequent conflicts with his father, who wanted him to follow in his footsteps of being a preacher or a minister even though Shakur had a passion for other things like karate or soccer. It was at this point that Shakur “began to really resent authority” (Ear Hustle 4). The disagreements made Shakur start disobeying his father’s orders. Shakur was whipped by his father anytime he misbehaved (Ear Hustle, 2017). He eventually started resenting authority and got involved in increased delinquency.

            According to the article titled “Social Disorganization Theory,” McKay and Shaw revealed that crime did not happen randomly across the city but was at high rates in disadvantaged neighborhoods adjacent to or in commercial or industrial areas (Ear Hustle, 2017). Shakur grew up in a deprived neighborhood in South-central Los Angeles in 1980, which was surrounded by gang groups. Shakur decided to join one of the gangs after being attacked several times by various gang members at the age of 13 years. Shakur was approached by three young men who began teasing and bullying him. One of them took off his tacos and attempted to defend himself. There was nothing that Shakur could do to protect himself as they were three against one. Shakur states, “I was really mad. I was really upset. So, that’s when I decided that I would join a gang. I was 13 years old” (Ear Hustle, 2017, p. 5). Shakur was forced to make the decision due to his living environment. He gradually started associating himself with a specific person who was a member of the Eight Tray gang. Shakur was impressed by the culture of the gang, including the various gang and music signs, dance styles, and fashion that identified the actual gang members. He eventually joined the gang and was involved in crime in an attempt to impress his peers in the group.

            The second article, titled “Criminology, explanations of the theory of social disorganization,” states that the residential places of individuals are more significant than the behavior of an individual when criminal actions are predicted and young individuals living in the areas learn crime through approval of culture within the deprived urban neighborhoods (Bond). The statistics help to explain why Ross Shakur Tommy was involved with crime and gangs. He was an innocent child, and experiencing firsthand bullying made him learn the tactics and implement them to be accepted into the group. At that point in his life as a young teenager, he got involved in different kinds of crimes, such as snatching purses, fighting at school, bullying other children, and stealing cars. Shakur did all that because he was “looking for acceptance…So if these guys were committing violent crimes, then I wanted to commit violent crimes, you know, more violent than them, I wanted to establish myself, you know, at a level that was beyond what they were capable of” (Ear Hustle, 2017, p. 6). Engaging in crime was not Shakur’s passion, as he only did it to impress the gang members and showcase his skills and capabilities.

            We can thus comprehend that individuals living in neighborhoods with high rates of crime are forced to assimilate into the culture. Failure to be part of the group makes them at risk in the neighborhood as they will be the targets of the gang groups and might be tortured and bullied from time to time. Most teenagers and young people join gang groups to protect themselves from others. Shakur argued that he wanted to be accepted by the gang members, so he started emulating their actions and behaviors. He saw them as his role models and followed each step to become like them. Such surroundings require one to belong to a gang group in order to survive a gang attack. Shakur joined the Eight Tray Gangsters group, whose enemy was the Rollin 60s. Shakur killed one member of the Rollin 60s at the age of 19, which was the worst mistake to do as the gang revenged by killing his brother and mother.

Short Written Assignment #3

After listening to the podcast, the theory of social disorganization explains Tommy Shakur Ross’s involvement in gangs and crime. This theory was developed by two criminology researchers named Clifford Shaw and Henry D. McKay in Chicago in 1942. The social disorganization theory states that environment and location are primarily responsible for the decisions that individuals make. The type of place or neighborhood is important to predict illegal activities. Returning to Shakur’s story, he grew up in south-central Los Angeles, California. Shakur came from a respectable family where his mother was a nurse and his father a Baptist minister. There were conflicts between Shakur and his father because his father wanted him to follow in his footsteps in the future. While Shakur wanted to do other things like play soccer or karate. Later, he became a rebellious son disobeying the orders of his father. As Tommy explained, in the beginning, he came from a two-parent home in which his mother was a nurse, and his father was a minister. He was also a middle child which explains why he got into trouble a lot and got a lot of whippings from his father. He eventually grew to resent his father and authority figures. When challenged by others, he decided to join a gang. The gang life provided a false sense of protection and glamor to the young impressionable Tommy Shakur Ross. Some gaps in the theoretical explanation of Ross’s involvement with gangs and crime are; violence becoming a common part of everyday life and disrespect for authority figures, including his father. 

Assignment #3

he social learning theory is the best theory to explain Tommy Shakur Ross’ involvement in gangs and crime. The social learning theory is best at describing what happened to Ross because Ross’ socialization into delinquent and criminal activities stemmed from his peer relations. Ross came from a very established and well-structured family. Both of his parents were in the household; they were professionals and devout Baptists; his father was a minister, and his mother was a secretary. The friends that Ross began to associate himself with and befriend are what led to his demise in gang affiliations and crime. Ross recalls the time the gangbangers robbed him of his tacos and beat him up, and from there, he decided to join a gang. One of his close friends was in a gang, and this friend took Ross under his wing. According to social learning theory, people learn techniques or how to commit crimes from their peers. Ross said that he followed in the footsteps of his gang, committing petty crimes like purse snatching and robbery. Still, he eventually wanted to achieve more violent crime like the older individuals in the gangs.

Short Assignment #3

Ear Hustling

Tommy Shakur Ross was seduced by what he saw as the “glamour” of gang life, he’s still in jail from the 80s. Shakur Ross being seduced from what he saw as “glamour” in gang life would fit more in the differential association theory. Differential association theory assumes that criminal behavior is learned in interaction with other persons. There was something he saw when he was around the other gang members that made him think gang life was so amazing.

Short Assignment #2

My neighborhood does not have much Technology to prevent crimes for example we have cameras but near stores and business not around or in our building. The very few that we do have is a shot spotter which is basically a machine that can detect gun shots and can alert officers right away. In some apartments doors you will see a ring camera but only very few own a ring camera. Another technology would be officers parking their patrol cars in the neighborhood it shows suspects that officers are around and many would not commit a crime if they see police officers.