Why Youth May Join A Gang

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Why Youth May Join a Gang

According to Barkan and Snowden (2008), the conditions that lead or induce a person to join a gang are: changes in the political system of a country; the rigidity or flexibility of the society (rigidity makes life stressful for people); a need to protect loved ones; and/or difficult life conditions, such as job loss, that result in high levels of frustration and threat. Street gangs join together for various reasons, such as to protect themselves from feared neighborhood members, in response to a competing gang in their area, lack of institutional resources and the decaying urban environment, and/or neglectful parents. A number of risk factors are associated with gang membership, gang activity, and gang involvement, but there is no single factor or set of factors than can be used to successfully predict which youth will, or will not, become gang members. Hill et al. (2004) use The Seattle Social Development Project (SSDP)—a longitudinal study that tracked 808 persons since 1985, when the participants were 5th grade students at 18 Seattle, Washington public schools that serve high-crime neighborhoods—to outline childhood risk factors that predict joining a remaining in a gang. The risk factors associated with gang membership were found in the neighborhood—availability of drugs, youth in trouble, low neighborhood attachment; family—family structure, bond with parents, low household income, etc.; school—leaning disabled, low academic achievement,
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