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Through interaction, an individual acquires norms, values, beliefs, attitudes and language characteristic of his or her group. By this interaction, an individual’s self and personality creation and shaping occur. Youth groups comprise closely associated adolescents or young adults. Their objectives vary and may comprise of individuals who just hang around together. Other groups may be involved in extensive illegal activities. Gangs incorporate certain types of music, mode of dressing, hand signals, body ornaments including tattoos, distinctive ways of speaking, graffiti and so on. Youth gang members come from economically and socially disadvantaged backgrounds in which there is a breakdown in cohesiveness of family and community. To satisfy their needs not meet by the society, youths result to joining gangs. Youths get friendship, security, a sense of purpose and identity. In the gang, there is an opportunity to gain wealth too.
Today’s youth gangs are large, organized and have full access to powerful weaponry. This means that today’s youth gangs are a significant threat to society. Corporate gang’s involvement is mainly illegal methods of moneymaking. Their organizational structure limits the visibility of these gangs to law enforcement. High organization with employment of labor division ensures profit making. Territorial gangs focus is on turf possession. To protect what they see as theirs, gang members are quick to use violence. Their flatter hierarchy results in less control over individual members and higher rate of violence. It is easy to keep track of territorial gangs due to close ties with their turf. Scavenger gangs have pitifully little organizational structure. Motivation for membership is mainly a need to belong to a group. Their crimes are usually impulsive and often senseless. These gang members are mostly low achievers prone to violence and erratic behavior. With entrenched values and network to enforce the same, leaving a gang becomes highly dangerous.
Some gangs result to murder to discourage individuals who may want to leave. Mentors must focus on changing the youth’s belief structure to help them disengage from a gang lifestyle. They must carefully and patiently work to expose the harsh realities of gang membership to the gang members. Providing the gang members with alternatives to the gang lifestyle assists in convincing them to do away with the dangerous lifestyle.