It is a cool morning on October23rd, 1997. Inside of the hospital delivery room there is a baby boy just being introduced into this world. His name, Abasi Thomas. The world will expect this young child to grow up and become a productive member of society; paying his taxes on time, holding down a job, and obeying the law. But, unbeknownst to him, his parents have already planned his life for him. You see, both of his parents are members of a local gang. Two-thirds of gang members join gangs because they are born into it. Abasi will become another statistic in the youth gang culture.
Being born into a gang is just one reason why youths take the path of gang membership. There are a number of other reasons for this lifestyle choice. Some juveniles join gangs because they are drawn to the parties, drugs, and girls. Gang membership also gives a person a sense of power and respect. If a person is being picked on by members of other gangs or groups of people then these gangs also offer protection. And yet some, who come from impoverished families or neighborhoods, just want to try and make money.
There are a those juveniles who are more prone to gang involvement over others. Those children with learning disabilities or emotional disorders are more likely to become involved with a gang. Statistically, it is shown that 60%-78% of incarcerated youth gang members (both male and female) have emotional and learning disabilities. This would lead to failure in school and truancy. Another factor would be that the children have no positive activities to keep them occupied while not in school. Juveniles who associate with other delinquents are more likely to choose the path of being involved with a gang.
There are approximately 360,000 teenage boys and 32,000 teenage girls in gangs. This equates to about 40% of gang members being juveniles.