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By Jack Sinclair

I don't even know where to begin with this article. Gangs are scary and I've been far too close to them for most of my life. I've never been in a gang and I'm pretty freaked to find out that Reg got involved with one.

People join gangs for their own reasons - a gang can provide a false sense of family. When it doesn't seem like many people care about you, the support of a gang can seem comforting. Gangs can provide basic human needs such as food, shelter and 'friendship', but it all comes at a price. Nothing is free in a gang, and before you know it you can find yourself involved in some pretty scary behaviour. It's important to remember that gangs are run by intimidation and fear. That's not my idea of a family.

Once you're in a gang, it's not easy to get out – that's why I'm so scared for Reg right now. I've done some research and collected some information about the most successful ways to get out of a gang. It's not easy and there are no guarantees, but here are a few ideas of how to get out of a gang.

  • Beat out – gang members beat you up as a way to 'earn the right' to leave the gang.
  • Gradually begin distancing yourself from the group:
    1. Dress less 'gangsta' – by altering your dress (removing gang colours) and changing your speech (less gang slang) you can begin to separate yourself from the gang.
    2. Develop other interests outside the gang.
    3. Avoid situations where you will be with the gang or run into gang members.
  • Become a master storyteller – think of new ways to say 'I can't', a teacher or adult may be able to help with this.
  • Age out – sometimes when members start a family and get 'regular' jobs, they gradually distance themselves from the gang.

Ways that WON'T work:

  • You don't tell the gang you're leaving.
  • You just disappear – they will find you.
  • Threatening the gang. A gang outnumbers you and you'll probably only get hurt.

There are also support groups, people who will listen and provide advice. Look to community organizations in your area, and don't be afraid to ask for help.

If you want your life back, like Reg wants his life back, then you have to take the first steps in getting there.

Want more info? Click here to go to Resources.


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