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How to get out of gangs safely - tips for young people from someone who knows (25 Jan 09)

Why do they join? Why makes them want to leave? How can they do so? Invaluable advice to pass on to young people who may be trapped in a gang

Whether you like it or not (and frankly, often I don’t) what happens in the U.S. tends to end up happening here.

Gangs are a good – or rather bad - example. Forget the romance of West Side Story. They’re a massive, growing problem – but nothing compared to what they are over there.

They breed violence and knife crime. Dealing with them is incredibly costly and time consuming for social landlords, the police - everyone who provides a service.

A good place to start if you want to understand them is where it all began. So I was really pleased to find this article by Michelle Arciaga of the National Alliance of Gang Investigators in the USA.

I am sure you will find it interesting and revealing.

It gives simple but very practical and powerful advice for young people on how they can escape from gangs.

If you find it useful please pass it on to anyone who you think might benefit. Michelle starts by explaining why young people join gangs

“For most gang members, the gang they belong to meets some kind of need in their life; for safety, love, excitement or money.

When a gang member learns that he or she can meet these needs in other ways, the gang may lose its appeal, and this person may decide to walk away from the gang life.

Some key tips for doing so include:

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