The myths about gangs


There are lots of myths and misconceptions about gangs.  Click on the statements below to find out whether they are true or false and for more information on each of them.

Being part of a gang is illegal

False.  Whilst it is not illegal to be part of a gang or to identify as part of a gang, if you involve yourself in any of the criminal activity that the gang commits, you will be risking arrest and prosecution and could end up with a criminal record which could affect lots of things including future travel plans or employment opportunities.

You can just leave if you don’t want to be part of a gang anymore

False.  Gangs often operate by ‘elders’ or older members of the group controlling younger members.  They will often use intimidation and violence to maintain loyalty within the group and can see people leaving the group as a sign of disrespect or of betraying the gang which can lead to repercussions for the person trying to leave. 

Being part of a gang can affect other people

True.  Gangs have a significant impact on others.  The presence and criminal actions of gangs can leave communities feeling unsafe and fearful.  Every crime that the gang commits also has a victim or victims.  As well as that, the family and friends of gang members are often targeted with violence and threats.

Only males are involved in gangs

False.  It’s more common for males to be involved in gangs than females but females can still be involved.  Females can be involved directly in a gang or indirectly through their relationships with male gang members. 

Being part of a gang can offer me protection

False.  Young people can be attracted to join a gang for the feeling of protection that they can provide.  In reality though, young people are often more at risk by being part of a gang due to the violent acts that gangs involve themselves in.  Also young people can be targeted by rival gang members, especially when they’re on their own.  Can the gang always be around to have your back?

The police can’t do anything about gangs

False.  As well as the consequences of the individual crimes that gangs commit, the police and Local Authority can also apply to the courts for injunctions against gangs.   This may mean that conditions are put in place banning the group from being together in public, wearing certain clothing or even communicating with each other on social media.


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