Understanding more about Gangs

With so many young people choosing to be part of a larger friendship group, it can often be confused as a gang. It is easy to associate the movement and numbers of young people in one place or vicinity as intentionally criminal. However, the fact is that there are a specific number of ‘Gangs’ that operate in many parts of the UK that focus solely on criminal activities.

​These ‘Gangs’ are responsible for much of the increase in youth violence. The emphasis on being part of a group or gang has increased in the last few years, as young people tend to believe now that there is safety in numbers.

Popular culture also plays a huge part in the growth of such groups, with the perpetuation of music and media that suggests that there is a tangible war or conflict that requires retaliation from its members. There has also been a noticeable change in the way young people dress and act. The wearing of colours and clothing that affiliate them with an area or a larger group have become the norm. Many young people are drawn to this as part of a way of gaining an identity.

The challenge for many young people is choosing which group to associate with as choosing one automatically alienates you from the others. So many conflicts that take place on our streets are between young people that actually know each other at some level. Many attended primary or secondary school together but are now divided by association with a group.

​With the increase of conflict between these groups, parents carers and youth workers now have an additional responsibility to understand the friendships that their children are involved with. The worrying thing for most parents is that their young people will be drawn into the ‘Gang life’ because they are being pressured or groomed.

Things to look out for: 

  • Changes in behaviour and language.
  • New friendships and associates
  • Changes at school
  • Staying out late
  • Social media content
  • Text messages
  • Additional money or clothing
  • New phone numbers
  • Hiding weapons
  • Injuries

For more advice on Gangs