Why Youth Join Gangs?

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Why Youth Join Gangs?

This essay will explore the various factors that lead youth to join gangs. It will discuss the role of socio-economic conditions, family dynamics, peer pressure, and the search for identity and belonging. The piece will also examine the impact of joining a gang on a young person’s life and the broader societal implications. It will consider prevention and intervention strategies that can be employed to address this issue. More free essay examples are accessible at PapersOwl about Abuse.

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How it works

The youth have been the most likely age group in gang recruitment all over the world. The problem of youth street gangs has endured the test of time despite measures taken to control the growth of bands. Because youths are ambitious and have a lot of unaccomplished goals, the window of opportunity presented by groups seems to be the choice of many (Sanders, 2017). The problem, however, is that teams are associated with violence, crime, drug abuse and all other forms of social misconduct.

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Breaking the law for gang members is the spirit that fuels the relationship between the members and those that exercise free will and autonomous in the way of thinking are considered weak they most likely end up dead, killed by their fellows. The violence involved in the daily operations of gangs leaves behind a massive trail of dead bodies gang members and innocent people alike.

Why is the topic important?

A critical study into the reasons why the youth are lured into gangs could as well be the beginning of finding long-lasting solutions against crime by groups in the society. By offering, in the community, what the youths are lacking, we create a better chance of ensuring they do not resort to crime and gang recruitment in a bid to satisfy their goals. This study could also attempt to highlight ways through which youths can withdraw from the gangs.

Literature Review

Youth gangs and crime.

Studies show that even though gangs are responsible for many crimes, most crimes committed are individual based. This means that many gang members have a natural inclination to commit a crime other than the desire to follow command given by the gang leaders. You could ask why then such individuals should form gangs or get recruited? This is probably because groups are associated with power and affluence. It is believed that bands are untouchable by the police task force and other checks put in place because of their large numbers. A large gang membership not only gives a sense of security for the members but also ensures there is proper backing for them to pull off significant crimes such as theft and other gang raids (Wolf, 2017).

Recruitment into the gangs is often through violence, and members of the group are kept in check through the use of force. Those who seem to be betraying the course are dealt with severely. Members adhere to set rules that often have no withdrawal from the gang. Members of a particular band have their code of conduct, language, and signs that are unique to them. This not only identifies different groups but serves to unite them.

Reasons why youths are lured into gangs and crime:

1. Poverty: Poverty stricken kids end up joining groups to fill up this void. Growing up without basic needs such as food and clothing hardens teenagers who resort to crime to satisfy this requirement. Envy for what other people possess that the youth lack makes them look for an opportunity to acquire these things quickly, as long as they swear their allegiance to the certain gang. (Wolf, 2017). The gang power mentality and the affluence offered by money laundering and drug sale makes it hard for many youths to resist joining gangs.

2. Drug and substance abuse: Minors whose parents abuse drugs are lured into groups probably because they are familiar with a rogue way of life that involves stealing, mugging and even violence. The thug life behavior is ingrained in them they have no choice but to live the life they learned. Also, drug and substance abuse among the youth makes it difficult to make sound decisions, and therefore they are easily convinced to join gangs or commit a crime.

3. Peer pressure: Many teenagers have failed to recognize the influence their friend has on them regarding the decisions they make in life and how they react to problems in the society. It is the need for acceptance among friends that makes one want to prove that they are not cowards and can break the law. Youths who are already exposed to crime put pressure on their friends and make them choose between friendship and conforming to crime. Need for a sense of belonging: Youths who have low self-esteem may be lured into gangs where they are accorded the respect they may have lacked amongst their peers. At times, youths who lack strong ties with their families, friends or other members of the society turn to gangs for a source of identity.

4. Poor parentage: Parents who are irresponsible do not offer wise counsel to their children. In fact, parents who have a criminal history tend to pass on that attribute to their children. (Chesney & Pasko2015). This leaves many youths with no defense against attempts to recruit them in crime and gangs.

5. Need for a sense of security and stability: In the process of pursuing personal development and goals realization, many youths resort to crime. This is because gang crimes promise rewards to their members after carrying out robbery. Being a gang member also offers protection from other gangs.

6. Need for companionship and excitement: Many youths find it overwhelming to break the law often in the company of their peers. Gang members popularize gang life and make it seem adventurous and fun. Most ambitious youths are lured in by the promise of a glamorous life.

7. Poor academic performance: Most teens drop out of school due to poor performance, and the only means they have of making a living is crime and recruitment in gangs. Evil such as robbery offers a quick means of finding money. The acceptance provided by groups also does not discriminate against poor academic performers.

8. Community upheavals: In neighborhoods where drug abuse is rampant, the likelihood of young people resorting to crime is high. (Eguizbal et al.,2015) Such crisis-stricken communities give rise to hardened criminals who have become used to being arrested.

9. Unavailability of employment opportunities: This makes the youths search for ways to satisfy their needs. Also, they are left with a lot of idle time that causes them form groups that grow into gangs.

10. Lack of enlightenment on dangers of gang membership: Youths who do not understand the risks involved in gang activity are lured into joining groups. They do not put in mind the legal problems associated with gang activity.

Reconciling Discrepancies

A different factor is whether the youth can be deterred from joining gangs and criminal activities as long as the factors mentioned above are dealt with appropriately. Studies are yet to prove that in the absence of reasons why the youth engage in crime and gang activities there will be fewer gangs in the community. (Shelden et al., 2012). As reported in one study, however, is that a person joins a group based on personal affiliations such as peer pressure. There cannot, therefore, be a complete answer as to why youths join gangs or engage in criminal activities. Relevant theoryA suitable theory is that the decision to join gangs and criminal activity is a result of a combination of several compelling reasons rather than one single cause. Solving the gang-related problem is, therefore, a task that involves critical analysis some predisposing factors.


Chesney-Lind, M., & Pasko, L. (2015). The female offender: Girls, women, and crime. Sage.guizbal, C., Ingram, M. C., Curtis, K. M., Korthuis, A., Olson, E. L., & Phillips, N. (2015).

Crime and Violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle. Research Report). Retrieved from Wilson Center website: https://www. wilsoncenter. org/sites/default/files/FINAL% 20PDF_CARSI% 20REPORT _0. pdf.

Sanders, W. (2017).?Gangbangs and drive-bys: Grounded culture and juvenile gang violence. Routledge.

Shelden, R., Tracy, S., & Brown, W. (2012).? Youth gangs in American society. Nelson Education.Wolf, S. (2017). Mano Dura: The Politics of Gang Control in El Salvador. University of Texas Press.

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Why Youth Join Gangs?. (2020, Jan 22). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/why-youth-join-gangs/