Not a day goes by when we do not hear stories of gangs and gang activity. There are regular reports of turf wars, street violence and gang vendettas resulting in shootings and stabbings in towns and cities around the world. The popular image of gangs ties them directly to drugs and violent crime and law enforcement agencies seem to be fighting a losing battle in the fight against gang crime.
It is vital that we look at the reasons behind the increase in gang involvement. To further enhance our understanding of the gang phenomenon, we need to get to the core of gang culture and examine the root causes of gang involvement and gang-related violence.
What are Gangs?
Gangs, sometimes called street gangs, are groups of people who regularly associate with one another and who control a territory in their community. However, the term can also refer to motorcycle gangs, prison gangs, or other groups who usually share the same interests and are led by a gang leader.
Gang membership is an ongoing concern. Gang members, or gangsters, are responsible for many societal problems that regularly make the headlines such as gang violence and street crime.
Why People Join Gangs
Gang behaviour is a complex topic, and many ask: What makes someone join a gang, and how can a person leave a gang? The answers to these questions are dependent on whether we are referring to adult gangs or youth gangs.
Being part of a gang provides people with a sense of belonging, of being part of a group where they can gain recognition and feel protected. Gang membership evidently fills a gap in the lives of many individuals and we therefore need to examine questions such as:
- Why do people join gangs?
- Is there such a thing as a typical gang member?
- Can gang violence be prevented?
- What can you do if someone you know is in a gang?
- How can a gang member break free from gang activity?
- Is the government doing enough to tackle gang crime?