Monday, 24 June, 2024, Reg No- 06
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Prompt actions needed to rein in juvenile gangs

Published : Saturday, 18 May, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 555

Prompt actions needed to rein in juvenile gangs

Prompt actions needed to rein in juvenile gangs

Much like the rapid proliferation of frogs during the rainy season, juvenile gangs are growing at an alarming rate across our communities. This surge in gang activity among teenagers is a serious issue that calls for urgent attention and decisive action from the state. The young offenders, shielded by their age, often escape stringent legal repercussions, which fosters a cycle of impunity and encourages further criminal behavior. These juveniles are not merely involved in petty crimes; they are actively participating in serious offenses including drug addiction, smuggling, eve-teasing, terrorism, gang formation, land grabbing, assault, murder, and the disruption of political events.

Social media platforms such as TikTok and Likee have exacerbated this problem by glamorizing criminal behavior. These platforms attract impressionable youths who are drawn to the allure of a glamorous yet dangerous lifestyle depicted online. The pervasive influence of social media often masks the grim realities of crime, enticing more teenagers into the web of delinquency. The glorification of gang culture and criminal acts on these platforms poses a significant threat, making it more challenging to steer young minds towards constructive pursuits.

The geographic spread of teenage gang violence underscores the widespread nature of this menace. What was once perceived as a problem confined to the capital Dhaka has now permeated various neighborhoods including Mohammadpur, Mirpur, Uttara, and Demra. This expansion highlights the pervasive reach of juvenile gangs and the urgent need for comprehensive measures to curb this trend. The increasing presence of gangs in these areas not only disrupts local communities but also creates an environment of fear and instability.

The issue is further complicated by political patronage, where representatives of political parties sometimes encourage juvenile offenders to engage in criminal activities. This political backing emboldens young criminals, as they often secure bail swiftly after arrest, enabling them to resume their nefarious activities with minimal interruption. The cycle of leniency and political protection perpetuates a climate of fear and insecurity, leaving law-abiding citizens feeling increasingly vulnerable to the whims of juvenile gangs.

To combat the rising tide of juvenile gang activity, a multifaceted approach is required. Legal reforms must be implemented to ensure that age does not become a shield for young offenders. Stricter penalties and a robust juvenile justice system can help break the cycle of impunity. Additionally, social reforms are necessary to address the root causes of juvenile delinquency. Investment in education, community programs, and mental health services can provide alternatives to the allure of gang life.

Families and communities also play a crucial role in preventing juvenile delinquency. Parental supervision, community engagement, and youth mentorship programs can significantly reduce the appeal of gangs. By fostering a supportive and vigilant community environment, we can steer young people away from criminal activities and towards positive, productive futures.

Education and employment opportunities are critical in preventing the rise of juvenile gangs. Ensuring that all children have access to quality education and vocational training can provide them with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue legitimate careers. Employment opportunities, particularly for young people, can help reduce the allure of gang life by offering a viable alternative for financial stability and personal development.

While social media platforms have been criticized for glamorizing crime, they can also be harnessed for positive engagement. Campaigns that promote positive behavior, highlight the consequences of crime, and showcase success stories of former gang members can help change the narrative. Educational and awareness programs using these platforms can reach a wide audience, including those at risk of falling into gang activities.

Enhancing law enforcement capabilities and promoting community policing are essential steps in tackling juvenile gang violence. Police forces need to be adequately trained and equipped to handle juvenile crimes effectively. Community policing initiatives can help build trust between law enforcement and communities, encouraging residents to report criminal activities and cooperate with police efforts to maintain safety and order.

Learning from successful international models can provide valuable insights into combating juvenile gang violence. Countries that have effectively reduced gang activity through comprehensive strategies involving education, law enforcement, community engagement, and social services can offer best practices that can be adapted to our local context. International cooperation in sharing resources, expertise, and support can strengthen our efforts in addressing this issue.

Addressing the rise of juvenile gangs requires a collective effort from all sectors of society. Government agencies, law enforcement, educational institutions, social service organizations, and community leaders must work together to create a comprehensive strategy to combat this issue. Public awareness campaigns can also play a vital role in educating both parents and teenagers about the dangers of gang involvement and the importance of making positive life choices.

The alarming rise in juvenile gang activity is a pressing issue that demands immediate and robust action. By tackling the root causes, enacting stringent legal measures, and fostering a supportive community environment, we can mitigate the influence of gangs and safeguard our youth. The state, in collaboration with communities, must act decisively to disrupt the cycle of juvenile delinquency and create a safer, more secure society for all.

The writer is a student, Department of Arabic, University of Rajshahi

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