Gang Intervention

With teen violence on the rise, the number of teens joining gangs is also on the rise, which is why gang intervention is becoming so important. It is up to parents an teachers to practice gang intervention to help stop troubled and violent teens from getting involved in gangs.

According to recent gang statistics, there are about 24,5000 gangs throughout the United States with about one million total gang members. That number is up over 250,000 since 2000. Almost half of all gang members are juveniles. This clearly shows a problem among teen gang violence and gang activities. Gang members consist of many violent members that commit about 6 percent of non-fatal crimes or about 6.6 million violent crimes each year in the United States. Teens of minority groups like blacks and Hispanics are the most likely to join gangs making up about 31 percent and 47 percent respectively. Gang intervention techniques are important for any parent or teacher to know in order to help their teen or student avoid falling into the gang lifestyle. Many teens who are prone to having violent tendencies or have already committed violent crimes are more likely to join a gang than teens who do not. There are a variety of reasons as to why teens join gangs. Knowing and understanding these reasons may help with gang prevention and teen gang intervention.

Why do teens join gangs?

  • School failure or instability. Teens who have trouble with learning or staying focused in school are more likely to cut class and have no problems dropping out of school altogether when they join a gang. 
  • Lack of involvement in extra curricular activities in and out of school. These types of activities can be positive reinforcements for teens to help them express their violent tendencies in a healthy way by playing sports or expressing their emotions. They can help play a role in gang intervention.
  • Dysfunctional family background. Teens who come from an unstable background or have uncaring or abusive parents might seek a family atmosphere often found in a gang. Little do they know it is even a more of a dysfunctional family surrounding.
  • Low income. Many times teens take it upon themselves to earn money. Sometimes they do this by selling drugs, which is a practice often associated with gang-related behavior.
  • Early drug and sexual activity. These are other reasons teens might be more willing to seek the lifestyle gangs have to offer.
  • Emotional issues. Emotional issues like depression, stress and anger management might make a teen more likely to engage in gang -related behaviors.
  • Exposure to violence. Many teens who are brought up in a violent family or often see violence around them might be more likely to join a gang because it seems familiar to them. They might also have violent tendencies already, and this is something they can express in a gang setting. 

Gang intervention procedures:

For parents of teens who exhibit any of the risk factors listed above, it is a good idea to work to improve those areas or get help for your teen to practice gang intervention. If they are already engaging in gang-like behaviors, gang intervention is the only way you can stop them from going too far and getting too involved in the gang. Once a teen or adult has been fully initiated and accepted into the gang, it is difficult to get out without a violent and often deadly fate for the gang member. There are many organizations and schools dedicated to gang intervention and strive to reduce the number of gang members through gang intervention procedures. Often, the workers of these organizations will mediate gang disputes and promote non-violent solutions to group conflicts. The goal behind many of these organizations is to raise the self esteem of teens who are at risk of becoming gang members. They help the teens see how they can resolve issues without gang-like behaviors through after-school programs and tutoring. If a teen you know is at risk of becoming a gang member, it is a good idea to see if there is a local or school program like this to help practice gang intervention. By reducing the numbers of gang members in certain areas, it may help reduce the overall number of gang members and eventually cause the gang trend to go back down. 


Related Article: Violence Intervention >>