Gangs 101 - Gang Recruitment Techniques
Reprinted here with permission.
The following information is taken from the
Community Reanimation Process published by Urban Dynamics,
Inc. While the document presented here is by no means complete,
it does offer a good grounding in contemporary gang phenomenon.
If you are interested in obtaining a complete copy of the manual
you may do so by contacting UDI at (708) 385-0066.
The needs and/or purpose of a gang as well as the particular
situation determines the methods/techniques that will be used to
recruit new members into the gang. The following categories of gang
recruitment are fairly common, but the sophistication of the gang will
certainly dictate how sophisticated the recruitment techniques will be
For a long time gangs have used this technique to
recruit new members. They create glorified myths about the gang that
are very attractive to young recruits, and very often these myths
become the foundation for young aspirations.
The most powerful of these trappings, however, are
the promise of money, sex, and glamour. The symbols of the gang (the
graffiti, hand signs, colors, tattoos, etc.) create a visual
attraction for young people, they realize that with these symbols
they are part of something organized and powerful. Parties are also
very useful ways for recruiters to seduce young people into the
gang. At the party they have fun, get high, and believe the rhetoric
they are bombarded with.
Subterfuge is a misrepresentation of what the gang really is and
what it stands for. Recruiters use lies and schemes to convince the
youth that it really isn't a gang, it's a club or it is really a
group of close friends that have to protect themselves against a
powerful enemy. Another tact taken by recruiters is to identify
latchkey and other kids who may not have a good family life and
convince them that they aren't loved and that the club is there for
them, the "club" will love them.
Often gang members will do a favor or make a loan of
something to a prospective recruit and demand they give loyalty as
payback. Often, these favors come in the form of protection. Girls
are sometimes used to promote that sense of obligation.
Forced recruitment is an age old technique, used
most often by large gangs in chronic gang cities. This technique is
used most often during times of gang conflict, or when there is a
need to generate dues money. Coercion is usually accomplished by
threats, but physical beatings are used as well. There have been
many deaths as a result of individuals refusing to join the gang. Coercion
can mean that a family member is threatened as well.
5. Self Recruitment
For many reasons, youth will make contact with gang
members and ask to join the gang. The reasons are many and not
always because the individual sees the gang as glamorous. The reason
may be one of necessity, money, protection etc.. The reasons may be
a combination of all of the trappings mentioned above. The range of
reasons for a youth to join a gang is very wide and does not always
mean that he has joined the gang openheartedly.
the Abyss: The Structure of
Gangs | Appendix |