It is necessary to appreciate that gangs are organisations of two or more individuals with the aim of helping each other in commissioning delinquent or illegal acts while contemplating why gangs develop (Larence, 2010). Such collective behaviours may be loosely coordinated, whereas some can be very advanced to be considered hierarchical street groups and organised crime networks, as is the case with major cities in the US. There are several explanations why gangs are formed, some of which are more relevant than others. The foregoing are the key explanations why, along with what they give their members, they are created.
Social Discrimination and Rejection
There is widespread cultural and racial inequality in the United States owing to the existence of the Hispanic, White, Indian and Black minorities (Larence, 2010). Among these communities, conflicts have been generated and gangs are established to appeal to everyone’s interests. Some of the interests vary from the need for one race or ethnic group’s superiority and power over another to providing community protection. Gangs was engaged in illegal activity in the course of robbing and murdering persons from other cultures or racial backgrounds. Members of these gangs then feel embraced for who they are and their self-esteem continues to rise in the sense of belonging. Therefore, approval is what the party can give, which in turn raises the racial and ethnic differences among individuals.
Absence of Family Connection and Other Values
With growing divorce proceedings, disunity among family members, lack of parental affection, adult role models and disciplinarians, the family unit has collapsed in many affluent countries. Both persons deserve to be cherished and valued. The new family units have refused to give young people true affection, causing many of them to switch to gangs who serve as adoptive communities. There have been several social and economic pressures that render it more impossible for many families to effectively raise their children. However, the wellbeing of a society relies on how healthy its family units are.
The Feeling of Powerlessness
The current society offers numerous challenges to youths with drugs all over, abuse at home and in school and poor grades among others. As a result of these young people feel powerless and they try to regain power or compensate the lost control through gang membership. Females for example join these gangs in order to gain respect from people in the neighborhood (Bursik Jr. and Grasmick, 1993).
Abuse, Fear and Security Issues
Many young people who join gangs have in the past experienced some form of abuse, physical or otherwise from people close to them. A general shortage of protection is also present since the society has failed to protect them. Such youths come together to offer consolation and support to one another in times of need. Gangs in this case offer them the security they need to continue with life.
There is high tendency for young people from poor neighborhoods to gang up in order to get some means of income. They do so through robbery and other forms of crime to earn livelihood. Many that are opioid users often need resources to support their habits, and many individuals come from poor and wealthy families (Egley, Mason & Miller, 2006). Gangs are often created to promote the purchasing or sale and delivery of products that can not be provided through legal means, such as narcotics and weapons. This trade is extremely profitable and they gain the money they need in the end.
School Failure and Low Self Esteem
Bad school success also contributes to low self-esteem formed by students and subsequent removal from studies. Gangs are created in order to recover damaged self-esteem. In teaching children about the risks of gangs and similar activities, schools have struggled. The other source of gang forming is problem behaviour syndrome, where impaired learners appear to establish support networks that turn into gangs.
Wasted Free Time
Today’s lifestyle is involving a great deal of wastage of time in the internet and other technologically related leisure activities. This idleness has resulted to formation of groups in neighborhoods that later turn into gangs. Youths are reluctant to engage in legitimate activities that do not offer direct reward e.g. social work (Juvenile Justice Commission, 2010). Instead, they choose to adopt activities that bring money quickly like selling drugs.
Migration of Gang Members
This is one of the greatest triggers of the spread of gang culture. Gang members moving from one state to the other recruit members on the way. This has led to gang networks that are hard for authorities to crack or break.
Media and Gang Culture
A big function has been performed by the mainstream media in portraying gang lifestyle as stylish and the fashion of the day. Gang tendencies have been portrayed as the current trends and those not practicing them feel left out.
There is a tendency of young people emulating their seniors’ gang behaviors. Sons take on their parents’ or siblings’ gang behaviors or from peers. This is mostly the case where gang activities are rarely followed up or go unpunished. In case gang activities offered food and other basic needs to the family, the children grow knowing a gang to be an easy channel of money.
Because They Can
Those who form gangs do so after appreciating that the authorities will do little if anything to curtail their activities. Authorities monitoring techniques are so far ineffective as more gangs are being formed while the existing ones flourish with crime rates skyrocketing daily (Institute for Intergovernmental Research, 2011).
Who Joins Gangs and Why
Gangs are joined by anyone who is willing and that the gang is also willing to accept them. As earlier stated both males and females are members and so are people from both poor and rich backgrounds. However, some groups have higher affinity than others. For example males are more than females, poor academic performers are more, those with poor job prospects, those involved in drugs and excessive alcohol. Others who join are those undergoing social neglect, poverty, single parenthood, abusive family relationships and those whose friends and/or relatives are gang members. The general range in age is 12 – 24 years where these young people fall under one or several of the aforementioned characteristics. It is necessary to remember that all sales are levels together with racial or ethnic affiliations are represented in gangs. Majority of those who join gangs (actually 41.1 percent) become acquainted with these tendencies in their neighborhoods followed by 22.3 percent from friends in school (Larence, 2010). 17.9 percent of the new entrants adopt gang culture from friends at parties while 18.6 percent get it from controlled settings like juvenile detention facilities.
There are many reasons that make people join gangs especially the youth and they are pretty much related to the reasons why gangs are formed. The first one is strained relations with others e.g. family members and friends whereby people crave for attention, respect and love from others. This causes gang members to be closely attached to one another. The sense of security also drives them to joining especially where a neighborhood is dangerous and is full of crime against the general public. Third is peer pressure where friends drive their colleagues into gang activities by having them recruited willingly or otherwise (Klein, 2006). This happens mostly in school settings or neighborhoods with minimal or inefficient gang monitoring structures. The fourth is the need for money to survive or support a family. This results in these people taking up the gang culture in order to gain this kind of money since within a gang one is able to easily peddle drugs and engage in other lucrative illegal activities.
Gangs are a serious threat to the security and well-being of a society and even a nation. However, as statistics show their presence is becoming more pronounced especially from the late 2000s. This means that forming gangs is becoming easy and reasons of joining are increasing. Noting that more than a million people are gang members in the US should be an eye opener to the authorities that their numbers are not in any way reducing but increasing. The reasons for gang formation have been found to include social discrimination and rejection, absence of family connection and other values, the feeling of powerlessness, abuse, fear and security issues and economic deprivation among others. Youths should be well monitored since they are the most likely lot to form or join gangs. The authorities should look into the statistics and reality on the ground regarding the negative impacts of gangs in order to take clear and decisive actions to eradicate them.