Why do young people join gangs?

A gang often meets needs that go unfulfilled in other areas of a young person's life. The gang may provide a sense of security, loyalty, structure and discipline that may be missing at home. The following is a list of reasons that may lead a young person to join a gang.

  • Desire for excitement/machismo
  • Feeling of belonging/being cared for
  • Friendship/brotherhood
  • Lack of alternatives in/out of school
  • Lack of economic opportunity
  • Lack of positive influence by/interaction with parents
  • Media glorification of gang lifestyle
  • Prestige/power
  • Protection/peer intimidation
  • Protection/security from gang violence
  • Replacement or substitute family
  • Self-respect/identity

Show All Answers

1. What is a gang?
2. Who belongs to gangs?
3. Why do young people join gangs?
4. How can I identify gang members?
5. How can I help my child say "no" to gangs?
6. What are the consequences of being in a gang?
7. What can I do if I suspect my child is part of a gang?
8. What can I do to help my child leave a gang?