The reasons young people join gangs include peer pressure, a sense of family, a need for protection, family history and a need for money. However, the many cons outweigh any perceived pros to gang involvement. Joining a gang is never a recommended course of action.
The cons of gang involvement and gang violence are abundant. Gangs participate in illegal activities in order to intimidate others and generate a profit. Joining a gang can lead to serious injury, incarceration and even death. When a young person joins a gang, there is often a mandatory initiation process involved. This could include committing violent crimes such as theft, murder or rape or could consist of sustaining a violent beating at the hands of the gang's current members. Once in a gang, members typically commit themselves for life. Those who want out subject themselves to violent beatings from fellow gang members and risk losing their lives.
Despite all the negative consequences, young people continue to join gangs. They may join to fulfill a sense of family that they never received at home or simply fall victim to peer pressure or family tradition. Furthermore, many children join gangs due to a desire for money or protection or simply because they think it is the cool thing to do. Communities can alleviate these temptations by educating children on the dangers of gang involvement from an early age.