Most gang members join between the ages of 12 to 15, and kids dealing with economic or social problems are the most prone to involvement.
Parents & youth role models play an important part in keeping young people out of gangs due to prevention being the best strategic response to the problem.
Talking with kids about the right choices is the number one way to prevent them from getting involved. Youth get 'pulled' into a gang for many reasons including; they think they might earn a lot of money, gain status, they think it is a good way to show family, neighborhood, or cultural pride, they follow friends or older siblings. Other times youth get 'pushed' into a gang because they are afraid for their safety and think a gang will provide protection from neighborhood crime and violence, or they have been pressured by the gang to join. Simply talk to kids about the negative consequences of gang behaviors, make the effort to get to know their friends and friends' parents, and make space for family time everyday. Kids need constant positives in their lives and proper adult guidance to make the best decisions and navigate through all they encounter.