WHAT IS A GANG?
11 FACTS ABOUT GANGS
HOW STREET GANGS WORK?
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A gang is a group of people who, through the
organization, formation, and establishment
of an assemblage, share a common identity.
In current usage it typically denotes a
criminal organization or else a criminal
affiliation. In early usage, the word gang
referred to a group of workmen. In the
United Kingdom the word is still often
used in this sense, but it later underwent
The word gang often carries a negative
connotation; however, within a gang which
defines itself in opposition to mainstream
norms, members may adopt the phrase as a
statement of identity or defiance.
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A gang is a group of people with a common
objective, interest, identity and mission.
Today, however, the word, gang, is used
in referring to a group of people whose
mission and objectives are extremely
negative (engaging in criminal activities).
Gangs develop from people of common
interests, economic situations, geography
and/or ethnic lines. Gangs can form colonies
and could be a subset of a larger organization.
Gangs identify themselves by the clothes they
wear, the way they greet fellow members of
their gang, and the language they speak. Upon
initiation, a new gang member is placed in the
lowest cadre of the gang structure. As the
member grows in the gang and contributes by
introducing more people, he gets promoted and
becomes more involved in gang activities. His
mode of identification may also change from
graffiti on notebooks to tattooing themselves.
Finally, there are members known as “hard cores”,
or the oldest, most tenured members of the gang.
They are members of the gang for life and care
little , if any, for activities outside the gang.
The most common gang activities involve
aggressiveness on the streets, theft, drug
pushing, vandalism and violence. To perpetrate
crime and violence, as well as keep their tough
reputations, it's not uncommon for many gang
members to carry guns and knives.
Why Do Gangs Develop?
Gangs can develop anywhere and for a multitude
of reasons. Research has shown, however, that
even though gangs possess different values and
beliefs they often form for similar reasons.
Many gangs develop due to racial issues.
Traditionally, men have been found to be more
inclined to joining a gang. This still rings
true, however, there has been a rise in the
number of female gangs and female involvement
in gangs overall. A lot of gangs are location
related. There are many gangs named after the
neighborhoods and sometimes even the streets
A lot of times gangs form out of social unrest.
Many gangs take root in ares that have been hit
hard by poverty. A lack of employment leads
people to find other ways to support themselves
and their families, and many turn to crime. In
this way, a gang is a business. A new member of
the gang becomes the newest employee of the gang
business, and many of those new employees are
Why Do Kids Join Gangs?
Several reasons have been identified for
the participation of kids in gang activities.
Many kids join gangs in hopes of gaining
respect from peers that have joined the gang.
Some kids may have gotten into trouble already
and join in exchange for promises of protection
made by gang recruiters. Many times kids from
broken homes join gangs to feel like they are a
part of something bigger. Many are looking for
acceptance from a group of people that have
certain things in common. Kids can be interested
in the flash of a gang. A kid making minimum wage
at a grocery store could find the money, cars,
and lifestyle associated with gangs extremely
The strength of a gang lies in its numbers.
The more members there are in a gang, the more
powerful the gang becomes. Like any business
gangs have tactics for recruiting new members:
To recruit kids gang members convince kids
the gang is just a group of friends or
family. Gang members will tell kids their
real families don't love or care about them,
but the gang will.
Money, cars, clothes, jewelry, and friends.
Gangs show all of these things to kids and
make the promise that the kid will have the
Gang members often take advantage of children
in need. The gang offers to provide protection
or money for a kid in exchange for his or her
loyalty to the gang.
The act of forcefully recruiting people into
a gang. This is a common practice in larger
cities. This happens especially when there
is a need for more members or more money.
New recruits are beaten until they submit
to joining the gang.
Many reasons could lead a kid to contact
a gang about joining. It could be for a
combination of any of the above reasons.
It's often due to a lack of self-esteem
and a lack of acceptance among peers.
How Do I Know If My Child Is In A Gang?
Discovering your child is in a gang could
be the worst day of your life, especially
if you discover it too late. There are
signs to watch for and actions to take to
protect your child from living the life of
a gang member.
Does your child have a large number of new
Is your child keeping odd hours?
Does your child have unexplained extra money?
Has your child changed the way they dress?
Does your child own a lot of clothing of the
Are your child's grades slipping?
Is your child acting out violently?
Has your child gotten a tattoo that resembles
a gang logo or name?
What Is A Gang?
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1. Today’s gangs are very sophisticated,
crossing state lines to establish groups
and recruit members as young as 10 years
old in communities across the country.
2. Gangs use children because they know that
whatever the child under thirteen does, he
or she cannot go to jail.
3. 32.4% of all the nation's cities, suburban
towns and rural areas experienced gang
problems in 2008.
4. To gang members, graffiti is a marking of
territorial boundaries and serves as a
warning or challenge to a rival gang.
5. Many kids join gangs because they do not
receive adequate family attention, the gang
provides love, identity and status; in turn
they develop loyalty to the gang.
6. Many different ethnic, racial and
socioeconomic groups make up gangs.
7. A number of well-known, wide-spread gangs
such as the Crips, the Bloods and 18th Street
originated in LA.
8. Gangs remain the primary distributors of drugs
throughout the U.S.
9. Gangs are associating with organized crime entities,
such as Mexican drug organizations, Asian criminal
groups and Russian organized crime groups.
10. The Department of Justice estimates there are
approximately 27,900 gangs, with 774,000 members,
impacting communities across the United States.
11. Incarceration of gang members often does little
to disrupt their activities, since high-ranking
gang members are often able to exert their power
on the street from within prison.
11 Facts about Gangs
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Gathering accurate statistics on gangs and
gang membership is difficult for a number
of reasons. Gangs obviously don't keep
official records of their membership.
Some people hang out with gang members, but
aren't actually in a gang themselves. If
someone "runs with" a gang, but hasn't been
initiated yet, is that person a member? Who
do you count when compiling your statistics?
Why Do People Join Gangs?
There are many possible reasons for someone
to join a gang, but four primary reasons
seem to describe most gang members:
2. Peer pressure
Drug use is an underlying factor in all of
these reasons. Not only does the sale of
illegal drugs drive the profits of street
gangs, they also create many of the
conditions that lead to gang membership.
How Street Gangs Work?
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Gangs in America
Gangs and School Safety
Gangs or Us
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Girls & Gangs
National Alliance of Gang Investigator's Associations
National Gang Center
Operation No Gangs
Stop Varrio Warfare
Street Gang Dynamics
Street Gangs Resource Center
Talk to Your Kids about Gangs
Teenagers and Gangs
http://www.healthychildren.org / English / ages-stages / teen / safety / pages / Teenagers-and-Gangs.aspx
Youth Gangs No Longer Just a Big City Problem
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