Youth Gang Violence

Updated December 29, 2021

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Youth Gang Violence essay

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Gang Violence

We ask ourselves what is gang violence? Before writing this paper I thought of gang violence as just an initiated gang running around vandalizing and harming people. This is all that we see portrayed on television. We always here about two gangs crips and bloods. The crips were blue and bloods were red. This was all I knew of a gang growing up. Those were the two colors my parents would not let me wear. After growing up and doing I research also having friends in that life, I come to realize that there is much more to it than that.

So back to my original question what is gang violence. First to answer that we have to define what a gang is. According to National institute of Justice

“There is no universally agreed-upon definition of ‘gang’ in the United States. Gang, youth gang and street gang are terms widely and often interchangeably used in mainstream coverage” (National Institute of Justice)

The federal definition of gang as used by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement

States that a gang is, an association of three or more individuals, who identify themselves with a group identity. They also use fear and intimidation with a name, identifying symbol, type of clothing and tattoo or other physical marking. They also use tagging and hand symbols. They engage in criminal activity such as violence. Members meet on regular basis and also may seek to control particular areas. This is what would be used to arrest someone and classify them as a gang member.

According to the 1996 National Youth Gang Survey which revealed that divided gangs into 9 categories and survey people. People were asked to identify, from a list of groups some consider to be gangs. Juvenile gangs accounted for 85% of all responses. Street gangs accounted for 83% of responses. Taggers accounted for 58% of responses. Drug gangs accounted for 57% of responses.. Satanic Groups accounted for 24% of responses.. Possess accounted for 22% of responses. Crews accounted for 22%.of responses. Stoners accounted for 20% of responses and terrorist groups 5% Of responses. The chart of responses is listed below. (1996 National Youth Gang Survey: Summary. (1999).

1996 National Youth Gang Survey

I did my own research on two former/present gang members. I asked a series of questions in an interview with three former/present gang members. The questions were all the same to each person. Each person answered the questions truthfully. I have labeled them subject 1, 2. The questions asked and the findings are below. I contacted S. Gold and S. Gold for a knowledgeable discussion of gang violence. I consider these to be a expert in the field having been incarcerated for gang violence. Both Mr Gold ‘s are biological brothers raised in different household with different parents in different states.

I asked Subjects  in person the following 15 questions that I though would give some insight to the truth of gang violence versus what is in text book and online research.. What caused you to want to participate in Violence? When you were locked up did you join any type of gangs in jail or groups or did you keep to yourself? What kind of violence did you participate in? Do you think that gang violence relates to any of your upbringing? Do you think that anything in childhood or school could have stopped you? When did you decide that was not the life for you? How early did you start violence? What did it consist of? Do you think that poverty or wealth have any effect on it? Do you think that all gang violence is really gang related? What do you define as a gang? How much time have you spent in jail? Is gang violence race related or do you see it in all races? How did you or someone you know get into a gang? Was it easy to get out? What are you doing to protect your children from the life? Do you think television reflects the truth and accuracy of gang violence?

Subject # 1 Answers

‘I got into gangs because its what was around me my family up here was doin it so I wanted to do it’

“Everytime I go to jail 1st day I usually stick to myself scanning the mod to make sure aint no enemies in there with me, or til I see somebody I know from the streets like a homie from the hood or a nigga I went to school with. But black people usually click right away because jail us Segregated so everything usually fall into place as long as You aint a snitch”

“I participated in a lot of violence, shooting, robbing, stealing and selling drugs guns, tv’s, anything that get me paid. I was also fighting a lot.”

“yea gang violence played a big in my growing up seeing people Close to me like my friends and family dying plus me getting shot 9 times and all my friends being shot & going to jail, being harrassed by the police seeing people I grow up with get life sentences just all kinds of stuff.”

“I think if I had support from my mom or dad I would of been a little better, school don’t do nothing but kick you out. My dad never came to my football games I played sports because i wanted to but i never knew anything about college or saving film so i can go to college, I also started doing a lot of things because living with tasha she was strick couldn’t go outside on school days could never have friends over we could never go to friends house, we barely had friends because always was moving. So i think more support from both parents would of helped.”

“ I decided it wasn’t the life for me when I got older and start seeing friends get locked up because of people snitching and at the fact once you gone yo homies aint gone be there just some free me stats and that’s it. Plus seeing everybody dying. But it was mainly not wanted to do a lot of time”

“I started fighting young but I got interested into gangbanging at 14 and got jumped in at 16 years old”

“it consists of me fighting, proving im down with anything, shooting,stealing, robbing just doing whatever to show im not no pussy and I can get it done.”

“Yes poverty and wealth played a big roll all I wanted was the finer things in life alot of us kids didn’t have that so we all try to figure out what’s next since we not rich or stable, some people parents have money but still gangbang because they want a different love from the streets even if they parents gave it to them. But for me I didn’t have it like that”

“No all violence is not gang related because gangs may do dumb stuff we still understand right and wrong. Some people do violence because the off powerful drug some do it because they get hurt, some do it for attention, some do violence for money.”

I” define a gang ass a group of people who do shootings and purposely does violence”

“I been to jail about 10 times so I’ll say I been locked up 3 years all together, I never been to prison only county and youth detention center.”

“gang violence is a every race thing.”

It’s not easy getting out because your gonna always have enemies. So even if you chilling doesn’t mean the guy you shot 4 years ago like you so he might wanna get you.Best way to get out is to move outta town or somewhere else in the city. I don’t have children. But if i did I would surround them in a environment they don’t even think about gangbanging it is all about what you around

No tv gives the water down typical American gangster type of feel like shitfake and corny. Its starting to pick up a little due to more reality shows and youtube and rappers explaining it in their songs. And them doing blogs.” (S. G. Personal Communication)

Subject # 2 Answers

“I joined group called Y. N. T reason I join it was because I wanted power and control.  I wanted to feel like a God.  So that’s y I joined the Group called Y. N. T..”

“When I was incarcerated I keep to myself cuz it was disrespectful to join another group or gang when u already were a part of gang or click.”

“I shot at people ran In there houses lookin for drugs or money….. Or me an my click Y.N.T  would beat anyone Down that would disrespect our name or reputation.”

“Violence become apart of my life at a young age.”

“My step-mom was always at work everyday.  So that What cause me to run the streets all night n day.”

“If my parents was in my life I wouldn’t have  took this route in life.”

I was apart of any violence that made me feel like I was God.  Like I can’t be touched.”

“The violence was me shooting people and stealing from people.”

I was not poor or rich but even if I my people I lived with had money I still would of ended up in a gang because it meant something to me.

“Violence is not all gang related I did violence even while not in a gang.”

“I been to jail maybe 6 times in and out.”

“It was not easy to get out the life.”

“ When I got released for prison in 2017 I wanted to try something new.”

“A new life for my kids.  And I got tired of going to prison”

I think it depends on if it was a documentary or not, but like for real tv. shows they don’t show the full truth. (S. G. Personal Communication)

In conclusion based on my research I find that gang violence starts at a early age in life. The lack of parental guidance and care plays a big role in the child’s pursuit of happiness and that family they get while joining a gang. Both people I interviewed went to a gang because their mother was not in their life and gave them up at a early age. Poverty plays a role because youth want that flashy lifestyle they see on Television. Although gang violence is not portrayed realistically on television it still gets the main points out that youth intervention is the best way to stop gang violence. Gang violence also happens in prison but if your gang is not in their with you its is best to keep to yourself.


  1. Gangs and Gang Crime. (n.d.). Retrieved February 22, 2019, from https://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/gangs(S. Gold personal communication, Feb 24, 2019) (S. Gold Personal communication Feb 22, 2019)
  2. 1996 National Youth Gang Survey: Summary. (1999). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Youth Gang Violence essay

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