First and foremost, in order to understand a gang, we should have a clear mental picture of what is a gang. Gangs are groups of people who form an alliance or grouping for a common purpose, and this usually involves violence and other unlawful or criminal activities. This is different from your common circle of friends, as todays gangs often claim control over an area in the community as their territory, thus creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation for the people living there.
These gangs are also involved in trafficking of illegal drugs, as it is usually their main source of profit. The people who join gangs are usually from the age range of 13 to 21 years old, but there are reports that even 9 year-old kids have been known to be members of certain neighborhood gangs. There are a lot of reasons for these young people to join such gangs, some of which include excitement and fun, a substitute family, frequent companions, as well as pressure from other people.
Some are also after the attention or status that they get from these gangs, and even for financial gain, intimidation, protection, or other wrong ideas and failing to realize what joining a gang may entail. In a gang-infested neighborhood, young people are most likely to join such groups, especially with a family member or a close friend already a member of the gang. After establishing the idea of what a gang is, we need to determine the risk factors that could lead to gang membership.
These are usually the things that drives a certain person to join a gang, whether willingly or when he is persuaded by other gang members. One of the leading factors that could lead to gang membership is poverty. With all the illegal activities that these gangs profit from, surely many other people who lack money would be encouraged, if not forced by their financial problems to join such gangs (FocusAS. com, 2007). Another risk factor for a person to join gangs is the lack of self worth.
When you are not confident about yourself and you often view yourself as a failure, then there is a high chance that you would find comfort with the company of people who would often make you feel strong. This is the atmosphere that a gang provides to its members, which is why many of which are attracted to join them. People who are afraid of getting picked on or being bullied often join such gangs to protect themselves from whatever they are afraid of. Because you dont want to get picked on or being bullied, you tend to be the one who would pick on or bully other people.