What Are Some of the Reasons Why People Join Gangs?

Some of the reasons why people may join gangs include desire for protection, family tradition, peer pressure, lack of a basic need, excitement and desire to be popular. These causes may be facilitated by high-risk factors such as unemployment, domestic violence, negative friend network, poor academic performance and poverty.

Desire for Protection: when an individual feels a lack of security in the neighborhood he or she may opt to join a gang in order to feel safe or benefit from the gang's numbers and intimidation power.

Family Tradition: a person whose family members have previously been members of a gang is likely to join one since he or she will feel like it's the right thing to do. Such a person gets his or her values from what he or she sees other family members doing.

Lack of a Basic Need: whether it's food, shelter or clothing, a person may opt to join a gang in order to increase his or her chances of getting whatever they lack.

Peer Pressure: if an individual's friends belong to or join a gang, they may influence him or her to follow suit. The individual may give in to peer pressure in order to preserve the friendship.