In the past couple of years, there has been an increase in youth gang activity and participation. According to the National Gang Center (NGC), younger adults are more likely to join gangs depending on how many “risk factors” are exposed to them. These “risk factors” include struggling in their homes, schools, social groups, or within themselves. The more risk factors that are exposed to a young teenager, the more they will try to seek protection and a sense of belonging in gangs.
While these activities can include dangerous actions, there aren’t many gang prevention resources in the state of Minnesota. However, what we can do to help is make community resources more accessible to them. This could be raising funds for lower-income schools so that they can offer financial or academic support for their students, or providing all lower-income schools with a food resource room where food is accessible to students struggling with food insecurity.
It could also be helpful to make sure that young adults are heard and know that they’re being heard. Many individuals join gangs because they want a sense of belonging and providing resources for people in the community where they know that their thoughts, struggles, feelings, and opinions are heard may give them that sense of belonging.
“Gang Prevention: An Overview or Research and Programs” Youth.gov
National Gang Center