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The Attraction of Gangs: How Can We Reduce It?

Date Published
September 15, 2013

Kids join gangs for a variety of reasons — money, support and belonging, status, a perceived sense of protection or being part of “outlaw culture.” Strategies to lessen these attractions must be similarly diverse. By understanding the attraction of gangs for young people, practitioners and policymakers can adopt better prevention strategies that address the perceived attractions of joining a gang.

In the Spotlight: This chapter features interviews with:

  • Carl Anthony Holt, Chief of Police and Assistant Vice President for Community Affairs at Wayne State University
  • Virgil Taylor, Executive Director of The Peace Project, a Detroit-based partnership
  • Tisha Johnson, with Detroit-based Street-Side Development Academy
  • Yusuf Shakur, Director with Detroit-based Urban Youth Leadership Group and a former gang leader
  • Michael Williams, President of Detroit-based Orchards Children’s Services

Read the Changing Course chapter “The Attraction of Gangs: How Can We Reduce It?” by Carl S. Taylor and Pamela R. Smith (pdf, 11 pages).

About This Article

This article presents a chapter summary from the joint National Institute of Justice and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publication Changing Course: Preventing Gang Membership (pdf, 166 pages). Changing Course features chapters written by some of the nation’s top criminal justice and public health researchers. The volume was edited by Thomas R. Simon, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nancy M. Ritter, National Institute of Justice, Reshma R. Mahendra, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Date Published: September 15, 2013