Why Do People Join Gangs?

There are several reasons why people join gangs, including very young kids. The following are just some of them.

To Feel Accepted

ganggrafittiOne of the most common reasons why this happens is that it gives the person a sense of acceptance. It gives the individual a sense of family or identity. The leader of the group is looked upon as a leader or patriarchal figure. The other members are seen as family members.

This is not to say that only those from broken families join these groups. Unfortunately, some families are together only in name. If the person sees his / her parents fighting they may get the urge to look for another “family”.

To Make Money

Another possible reason why people join gangs are financial needs. An unemployed individual desperate for money may join a group involved in illegal activities to make cash.

Peer Pressure

For teenagers and young people, it can be due to influence from friends. Adolescents naturally want to be accepted by their peers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but in some instances it can be dangerous. For some, joining these groups can be a form of peer pressure. Others may do it just to “prove” themselves.


In some cases, it could be just out of curiosity. A group or fraternity holds a certain mystique / fascination for some people. For this reason, they might be enticed to join such a group. When determining why people join gangs, this factor cannot be ruled out.

Tackling the Problem

There are many ways to confront this problem. The first is to acknowledge it. Unless the problem is acknowledged first, the trouble will not go away.

If your son / daughter / relative has joined a group, try finding out as much as you can about it. It needs to be emphasized that not all these groups are bad. Some of them just get together to have fun, form a band or just have fun. There’s nothing wrong with your children having fun or friends.

Discuss Problems Openly

Instead of just berating the person, you should first ask why. Usually the answer is that he / she feels lonely and needs to be accepted. If that is the response you get, ask yourself why he / she feels that way.

When trying to find out why people join gangs, open communication is of paramount importance. That doesn’t mean you should go on a guilt trip, but you have to talk about it with the whole family.

Thinking of the Future

If someone you know (or even yourself) is involved with a gang, ask yourself where all this can be headed. Just ask yourself: what are you doing there? Where do you see yourself ten years from now? You just need to watch TV to see where members end up; usually it’s in jail. You could get involved in gang wars that can get very dangerous.

Part of the problem is that few know the reasons why people join gangs. By taking the time to learn why, you can take steps to prevent it from happening.

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