A youth gang is internationally linked with violent crime in elementary and secondary schools. Gang members and their rivals conduct common crimes such as drugs and human trafficking. Youth gangs help provide a sense of belonging and social capital despite their involvement in criminal activity (Higginson et al., 11). However, gang members have similar identification and have various causes that influence their gang membership, including household income, personal factors, family, drug availability, population size, and private and public schools. Therefore, youth gangs in school can negatively affect other learners, educators, staff, parents, and the community. Hence, understanding these causes is appropriate and helps develop effective strategies to eliminate or minimize youth gang membership in schools.
Gang identification among youth differs over time following different communities. Gang members show similar handshake and hand signs and they show attitudes, behaviors, and conflicts within and outside the school environs. Most students from private and public schools are likely to engage in gangster activities. However, reports show that high rates of youth gangs are high in public schools compared to private schools. This is because public schools are considered low school attachments associated with violence and learning difficulties; hence, it shows significant engagement with gang groups. Family is another factor associated with youth gangs (Higginson et al., 12). Other causes for youth gangs include a negative family environment, poor parental role, broken families, and parental drug history.
Personal factors such as biological and psychological characteristics are influences to youth gang membership. Prior delinquency, employment, street smartness negative sexual behaviours increase the influence on youth gang involvement. In contrast, psychological protective factors show relationship with lower rates of youth gang membership. However, peer factors such as delinquency, gang influence, and peer attitude easily transform youths into gang members (Higginson et al., 12). Besides, community factors can also influence youths and victimized individuals into gang membership. Studies show that youths that have experienced violence in their homes and the neighborhood are likely to join gang groups for revenge or defense.
Gang activities experienced in a given community occur in and around local schools. These groups encounter each other in common school areas, during class changes, lunchtime, and school events. The gang members can meet to plan and engage in criminal behavior or confront their conflicts, thus causing harm to each other or the people around. Since those involved in gang activities can show their behaviors and attitudes outside and within schools or influence others, the school administrators develop strategies to address gang-related issues to the safety and well-being of others. Therefore, the administrators should develop preventive and proactive strategies to combat gang membership among youths (Estrada et al., 194). The associates should involve parents and other students to create awareness, understand and identify the gang issue, emphasize consistent consequences for gang behaviors, and establish safety and well-being plans.
Youth gang affects the safety and well-being of an individual and the people around them. One can intentionally or unintentionally join a gangster group. Identifying a gang group and determining the relevant cause of each member is appropriate for addressing the issue. Socio-economic, political, biological factors influence youths into inappropriate behaviors that harm others. Hence, understanding the issue and creating awareness concerning gang behaviors, attitudes, and consequences will prevent others from joining such groups, and gangsters can change their behaviors.
Estrada, J. N., et al. “Socio-ecological risk and protective factors for youth gang involvement.” The handbook of violence in education: Forms, factors, and preventions (2018): 185-202.
Higginson, Angela, et al. “Factors associated with youth gang membership in low‐and middle‐income countries: A systematic review.” Campbell Systematic Reviews 14.1 (2018): 1-128.