Ambivalence Towards Gangs

Ambivalence Towards Gangs

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Ambivalence Towards Gangs

A gang refers to a group of young people who form an association with a common goal of performing a criminal activity or unlawful act. Gangs can easily be identified through the way they dress, talk to people and the way they greet people. They exist in some communities whereby no one condemns and bothers about their criminal acts. When gangs live in such a community where their acts seems to be entertained, they feel encouraged to perform their ill activities since they have found a comfort zone (Daniels, 2008).

There are three reasons that make gangs to build strong ties with the communities surrounding them. The first reason could be if the gangs want to use the members of the community to get some important information about the community. Secondly, the gang could be having an intention of recruiting people from that community to join their gang and thirdly, the gang could be looking for a safe haven where they could stay and camouflage with the other people without being noticed.

Some communities have become ambivalent to gangs and the reason towards that could be where they prefer peace through the assumption that if they left the gang unbothered, they too could stay unbothered. Most people believe that, the moment a gang is questioned about the unlawful acts it commits or the bad things it commits towards people such as stealing, that’s when the gang starts war against the people questioning them. Therefore most people in a community prefer staying silent about everything that a gang does with fear of being bothered.

In most cases, people who are members of a gang in a community are mostly members of that community. They comprise of people who have grown up in that community, gone to school in the same community and as well have good knowledge about how the people in that community operate (Edgar, 2014). Therefore, people who see and witness members of that same gang carry out crime, they think that they cannot be the next victims of the crime since they are known to those criminals simply because they have grown together, went to school together and have even been friends when they were kids. This kind of believe give people a false sense and encourage crime to be committed more since they think that they do not give the criminals any reason to bother them and therefore feel that the criminals cannot commit any crime against them(Esbensen, & Maxson, 2012).

Some communities have become ambivalent to gangs because of the fear of the other gangs which exist in their area. Some believe that their gang could be bad but the other gangs surrounding them could be worse. This therefore makes them feel comfortable with a gang living within them. Some even believe that if they report the gang known to them to the authority, then the gang that is far away from them could attack them as a sign of revenge and it can even be worse.

The following characteristics make gangs feel safe. Mostly, gangs have large number of members whereby this characteristic makes them fear no one including the police. The more they are in numbers, the safer they feel. Also, gangs tend to move in packs rather than solo and therefore moving in groups makes them feel safe since in case of an attack they support one another and fight back together. The other characteristic is that, gangs are usually armed whereby they have all kinds of weapons such as guns and grenades and this gives them power to continue being deviant. Lastly, gangs operate in familiar territories and therefore they keep feeling protected and safe (Kent & Felkenes, 2008).

Consequently, communities have mostly contributed to this feeling of safety in gangs. They do this by being fearful and failing to stand up to them. They shy off from reporting the gangs to the nearest authority due to the fear of being attacked or killed. Some gangs go to an extent of issuing threats in case one reports them. Due to these threats, people stay silent and the gangs continue to carry out their operations.

They also contribute to their safety by protecting them from the law since they are their ‘own’(Collins, 2012). Some of the gang members are youths from that particular community and therefore their parents and relatives fail to report them to the authority fearing that an action that may claim their lives may be taken by the authority and therefore, decide to keep quiet about it.


Daniels, P. (2008). Gangs (1st ed.). Detroit: Greenhaven.

Esbensen, F., & Maxson, C. (2012). Youth gangs in international perspective (1st ed.). New York: Springer.

Kent, D., & Felkenes, G. (2008). Cultural explanations for Vietnamese youth involvement in street gangs (1st ed.). [Westminster, Calif.]: [City of Westminster].

Collins, J. (2012). Gangs, crime & community safety (1st ed.). [Ultimo, Sydney]: University of Technology, Sydney.

Edgar, K. (2014). Youth violence, crime, and gangs (1st ed.). Detroit [MI]: Thomson/Gale.

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