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Gang Membership

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A  gang   is  a  group  of  organized people  who are associated with criminal  activities  either  individually or  collectively. They engage in violent acts that are deemed illegal and un-acceptable in the society. Most of the gangs are composed of youth or young teenagers mostly from high school, colleges and other learning institutions. Thornberry (2003) argued that there are many reasons why young people join gangs based on personal perception. However, he believed that the most critical causes includes poor hazard realization, attention, a need for a belonging, excitement, family tradition, peer pressure, laziness, and low self-esteem (, n.d).

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An uneducated young person without any parental role may opt to join a gang membership as the sole option of earning a living. Poverty, lack of guidance and employment as well as greed for money are some of contributing factors that encourage gang membership. Desperation among the youth is contributed by being pessimistic in life when such people seem to assume that they hold a dark future in their hands (Thornberry, 2003).

Young people may also join gang groups as a protection means from rival gangs particularly from their neighborhood.  In some situations, young people may consider joining a gang group as a solution to threats and torment from other gangs. This is likely to rise in the absence of parental guidance and advice. In most such situation, children may not be willing to join gang groups but are forced by circumstances around them. Thornberry (2003) explained that sometimes-surrounding forces are too strong for the children to withstand. Influence from friends and parents may encourage young people to join illegal gang groups. A young person with friends or some family members, who are gang members, may influence him to become a member (Thornberry, 2003).

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Certain behaviors exhibited by the gang members such as a mode of dressing, communication, hairdressing, and colors may attract membership from many young people.

Idleness realized when young people are not involved in constructive activities such as education or career activities create room for them to engage in activities, which are not acceptable in the society.  Franzese, Covey & Menard (2006) argues that excessive unsupervised time in children prompts them to seek for activities just to break the boredom. In most cases, they find themselves in activities that are illegal such as gang groups (, n.d).

In addition, as revealed by Thornberry (2003) gang activities may sometime appear exciting and appealing to children. It is notable that children during the teenage years like taking risks, an opportunity that is fulfilled by the gang groups. These groups provide money to children after an unlawful act, which becomes overwhelming to them. Gangs offer huge amounts of money to children in order to attract them. Through this, they use children in risky activities such as being a lookout or delivering a package. Older gangs who do not want to be caught, take advantage of children’s’ failure to understand the risk involved. Children with low self-esteem and poor sense of purpose may join gang groups just to reinforce their self-respect (Franzese, Covey & Menard, 2006).

According to the (n.d), a young person may consider joining a gang in order to retaliate for damage or personal injury to a family member or a friend. This arises particularly because of frustrations and sorrow after an attack to a close person by some individuals or gang group. Lack of efficient methods of fighting stress encourages such a young person to join a rival group with an aim of fighting back. Before becoming a member of  a gang group, there are factors that the victim should consider. Such repercussions include; social segregation, police arrest, physical injury, death, and poor spiritual growth. Gangs are usually isolated by the society because of the unethical vices that they execute (Franzese, Covey & Menard, 2006). 

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