This study seeks to explore and understand the factors that contribute to the adolescent’s desire to join a gang. It is a reality that being a member of a youth gang is risky and disadvantageous in the sense that one is more likely to engage in criminal behavior, more likely to be involved in illegal activities and more likely to be caught and imprisoned. Nevertheless, youth gangs still enjoy the popularity and social status that they have in our society. More and more teenagers become gang members wherein they learn anti-social behaviors that only place them at risk.
Due to the presence of youth gangs and the increasing membership of the said gangs, there has been a marked increase in violent crimes and criminal acts in almost all cities in the country. This social problem have contributed to the increase in the number of convicted juvenile delinquents, the increase in high school drop out rates and even the violence that occurs in our schools. If the youth focus only on what is essential, and that is to go to school, learn the skills that would help them become productive members of society and to serve as examples for the younger generation, then our society would be in a better position than it is now.
If the youth today stay away from gangs, ultimately, gangs would die and end its existence because there are no members to sustain it. By studying the factors that lead teenagers to join gangs, we would be in a better position to provide programs and information that would keep them from joining gangs; hence, we would have a better society, a more positive, creative, and promising youth and less crimes, delinquency and violence. This study specifically aims to answer the research question “What factors lead the youth to seek membership in gangs? ” In order to answer the main research question, the study also seeks to determine the following:
1. Who is the typical gang member? What are his/her personal characteristics, educational attainment, and interests? 2. When and how does a person become a gang member? 3. What factors predispose the youth to join gangs? 4. What factors influence the youth to join gangs? Purpose and Objectives of the Study This study seeks to explore and determine the factors that lead the youth to join gangs. At the outset, this study is not one-dimensional; it takes into account that there could be a myriad of factors that engage the youth to become gang members.
Thus, this study was designed to provide answers to the following questions: Who is the typical gang member? What are his/her personal characteristics, educational attainment, and interests? When and how does a person become a gang member? What factors predispose the youth to join gangs? What factors influence the youth to join gangs? Just as some people are drawn to gangs, there are also those who do not want to become a member of any gang, thus in order to sufficiently answer the main research question, it is also important that the personal characteristics of the gang member should be examined.
By knowing the personal characteristics, educational attainment and interest of the gang members, we would be able to identify who among the youth are drawn to gangs and thus, we could provide interventions or prevention strategies targeted at the said persons to keep them from joining gangs. Knowing what goes on in gangs and how individuals are recruited and the process in which members are accepted into gangs will provide answers to the question of what is in gangs that make them attractive to the youth of today.
Understanding what attracts them to join gangs also enables us to provide a more specific intervention strategy or campaign that would help individuals become prey to gangs. The term predispose means the propensity or likelihood of joining gangs, in this question, it is desired that the family set-up, academic performance, social skills and needs of the youth are examined and whether this contributes to the decision to join groups.
This question can be answered by individuals who have not yet officially joined any gang but desires to become part of a gang, as such we would be able to identify what mitigating factors increase the likelihood of joining gangs. The last question is designed to identify the factors that lead the youth to join gangs. As such, the individuals are asked to specify the factors whether it be personal social, educational, economic or psychological that have influenced their decision to join gangs. This question can be adequately answered by individuals who are already gang members.