Among the leading reasons given by kids involved with gangs, either as members or gang associates, is a desire to be loved, accepted or to be part of a group. That is what gang members commonly promise when they are recruiting.
Additional reasons that kids join gangs include:
Gang members generally range in age from 13 to 24 years old, but can be as young as 9. Gangs can include all ethnic groups. Many gang members are boys, but 10 percent of all gang members are girls and the number is growing.
There are several risk factors or conditions that increase the likelihood of a youth becoming involved with a gang.
There are a number of signs that may indicate involvement with a gang or risky or delinquent behavior. The sooner concerns are responded to, the greater the opportunity to prevent a child from joining a gang. Discuss concerns with a trusted friend or a professional such as a guidance counselor, police officer, member of the clergy or human service professionals in the community.
Keep in mind, kids who pretend to be gang members or just associate with gang members are at equal or greater risk for being victims of violence as are those who are known gang members.
Signs to be aware of include:
It is possible to get out of a gang and many individuals do. However, the deeper or more involved someone is with a gang, the more difficult it is to get out.
Getting out of a gang takes time. A gang member may never verbally denounce gang membership, but can effectively discontinue his/her level of activity within the gang. Talk to a school counselor, police officer, member of the clergy or other professionals about safe options, which can include:
12000 Government Center Pkwy
Fairfax, VA 22035