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re various reasons behind young people joining street gangs.

One of the reasons young people join street gangs is because of neighborhood disadvantages. A theory that can contribute to why young people might join street gangs is Social Disorganization Theory. Social Disorganization theory assumes that “delinquency emerges in neighborhoods where neighborhood relation and social institutions have broken down and can no longer maintain effective social controls (Bell, 2007).” Social Disorganization contributes to residential instability and poverty, which affects interpersonal relationships within the community and opens opportunities for crimes to be committed. The break down of neighborhood relation and social institutions create a higher likely hood that young people will affiliate with deviant peers and get involved in gangs. When there is lack of social controls within a neighborhood the opportunity to commit deviance increases and the exposure to deviant groups such as street gangs increase. Which causes an increase in the chances of young people joining street gangs. If social controls are strong remain strong within a neighborhood and/or community the chances of young people committing crime and joining gangs decreases.
Many young people join street gangs due to weak family relationships and poor social control. Social Control Theory presumes that people will naturally commit crime if there were left to their own devices (i.e. no laws in society) and people do not commit crimes because of certain controlling forces, such as social bonds that hold individuals back partaking on their anti social behavior (Bell, 2011). Examples of controlling forces are family, school, peers, and the law. Young people who are tightly bon...

... middle of paper ... more likely to partake in committing criminal behavior (Shaefer and Haaland, 2011, p.155-156). Young people may get pure pressured by their friends into joining a gang.

The appeal of youth gangs

Furthermore, numerous young people join street gangs because they feel they are rejected by society and do no have the same values.

have faced either physical and/or sexual maltreatment. Young people who are maltreated tend to have impaired physical and emotional social functions.


Bell, K. E. (2009; 2007). Gender and gangs: A quantitative comparison. Crime & Delinquency, 55(3), 363-387. doi:10.1177/0011128707306017
Roman, C. G., Lachman, P., & Cahill, M. (2013). Assessing youth motivations for joining a peer group as risk factors for delinquent and gang behavior. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 11(3), 212- 229. doi:10.1177/1541204012461510

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