Why do people join gangs?

+12 votes
asked Jun 1, 2015 in Culture & Society by Dallas (480 points)
Okay, this is one question that has been on my mind for a very long time. Why are people in criminal gangs, and why did they join one in the first place? Does it mean they can't find anything better to do with their time other than playing the cop and robber?

2 Answers

+17 votes
answered Jun 10, 2015 by blanca (680 points)

Different gang members joined their gangs for different reasons, but most times, these reasons fall into any of the ones listed below:

  • Need for money or food – Gangs often send the message that they are a survival means to youths who might be in need of some basic things like shelter, food, and clothing. Most gang members utilize their affiliations to these gangs to engage in profitable but illegal activities like auto theft and drug pushing.
  • False sense of having a family – Young people often feel that the love, attention and support they get at home are never adequate, so they try to get it elsewhere. They may either be looking for a father figure or trying to run away from a home life they term negative. Often, these gangs promise to provide unconditional support, provide the family love and care they have always desired.
  • Intimidation – Some gang members were forced to join such gangs, especially when the gang felt such people would be valuable to their criminal activities. Some join gangs to threaten people who live in quiet villages that have no gang presence.
  • Family tradition or history – Families do have different gang involvements that span over several generations. This is likely the hardest pressure to run away from, because the gang lifestyle has been deeply rooted into their family values and traditions.
  • Excitement – Some youths get excited whenever they defy the authorities, or commit serious crimes. The gang lifestyle may be very attractive to them, as such gangs seem to be outside and above the law and get involved in illegal behaviors.
  • To look cool – Most gangs use manipulation to lure their potential recruits. They put on the latest trends in fashion, throw lavish parties, and drive cool cars. These gang members might appear they have the coolest lifestyles to younger people who are also looking for a way to fit in. The image of being cool which they present is further glorified by the entertainment industry and the media.
  • For protection – In areas that have very high crime rates and neighborhoods that are challenged socioeconomically, with very high crime rates, it is common for teens to join such gangs as a way of seeking survival. These gang members often move in groups to watch their fellow members back from being hit by rival gang members.
  • Peer pressure – Both teens and kids are often battling with the pressure to belong and fit it, and most times, they lack the necessary support required to resist and overcome the urge to become members of these gangs. These peer pressures can be in form of friendly persuasion, harassment, coercion, a dare, intimidation, or repeated begging.
  • Criminal activity – Some join gangs to take part in crimes like drug deals and share the proceeds and enjoy protection from the gang.
  • Recognition or identity – Becoming part of a notorious gang helps the individual to get to a level of notoriety that would have been impossible to attain outside the gang.
+6 votes
answered Jun 3, 2015 by Sharissa (600 points)
Why do people join gangs? Because you don't know what situation they live in!

Broken family. No job. No school. No money.

When you join any gang; members watch your back.

Everyone respects you because you are a member of a gang.

It might not be the best way to live, but it seems the only way for some people to escape reality.
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