Youth and Gangs

In our country, it is common news to hear about actions carried out by gangs. In most cases, gangs are involved in illegal acts, and their probability of taking part in violent activities is higher when compared to youths who are not part of gangs. They offer each other the very powerful peer pressure in just the right amount to push them off the cliff. The reasons why the youth decide to recruit into gangs are broad. Some join gangs that are associated with their hood while some join gangs that are associated with their school, while others are traditions, to mention a few. The various types of gangs are quite different, and the reasons behind the membership of their crew are very distinct. This paper will discuss the reasons behind youth joining gangs.

Some youths join gangs in search of recognition by their peers. Youths are at the identity searching stage of life, and being in a gang is a big opportunity to fill in this space. They achieve different status in the gang and reach some levels that they can only reach if they are part of a gang. The status might be just what they have been searching for throughout their life, and it makes them feel that they have achieved what they were aiming at.

Being in a gang offers the members a sense of protection. Some youth join gangs in search of this kind of protection. According to Densley (2018), many people who are members of gangs live in areas that are run by gangs. Such areas are faced with many gang fights. The gangs also take part in a lot of hijacking of non-member people and robbing them of their money or property. When one joins a gang, they are protected by the gang in case of fights, and they also save the things that could have been taken from them by the gang. They are protected from any violent acts that may take place by the entire gang.

Some gang members join the gangs since they were intimidated by other people who had the thought of joining the gang or by members who are already part of a gang. They show the new targets many advantages of becoming part of a gang. They show them the advantages and, in most cases, leaving out the disadvantages. According to Tailor, et al. (2014), they show being part of a gang as a living heaven providing the required intimidation to join the gang. The targets mostly join with some not even aware of what they were looking for to lead them to join the gang.

Some youths look forward to a chance to take part in criminal activities. Some gangs are deep into different types of illegal activities such as drug dealing or smuggling goods. Such gangs provide the opportunity for the youths to take part in the activities with other advantages that come with being part of a gang accompanying them. According to Pyrooz, et al. (2015), gangs mostly live together and talk about their businesses a lot. It means that most of their activities will be well-coordinated and unnecessary errors will not take place. They are almost perfect in whatever they do, and the probability of being caught is quite low. They might carry out their business across generations and remain undetected by the authorities.

There are different reasons for youths joining gangs. They vary from person to person, and some are positive, while some are negative. Different gangs also pick particular categories of people while choosing new members.




Densley, J. (2018). Gang Joining. Oxford encyclopedia of criminology and criminal justice. Retrieved from

Pyrooz, D., & Sweeten, G. (2015). Gang Membership Between Ages 5 and 17 Years in the United States. Journal of Adolescent Health xxx 1-6. Retrieved from

Taylor, T., & Vecchio, J. (2014). Youth Gangs: An Overview of Key Findings and Directions for the Future. Violent Offenders: Understanding and Assessment 13, 290-309. Retrieved from

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