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Dating someone in a gang

During the first half of the 1990s, the number of gangs in the United States multiplied more than sixfold, from 4,881 in 1992 to an estimated 31,000 in 1996.

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They’re also drawn to the camaraderie and the “colors” and hand signs that distinguish one bunch from another.“For these kids, the gangs are almost like social clubs,” says Dr. “They meet in school and talk about who’s in this gang or that gang.Girls are believed to make up as much as one-quarter to one-third of all urban gangs, whereas males used to outnumber females twenty to one.Nearly three in four gang members are between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four; one in six is fourteen or younger.Parents have good reason to be concerned if their teenager joins a gang.Older members are often involved in drug-dealing and criminal activity.A gang is a group of associates, friends or members of a family with a defined leadership and internal organization that identifies with or claims control over territory in a community and engages, either individually or collectively, in illegal, and possibly violent, behavior.

Some members of criminal gangs are "jumped in" (by going through a process of initiation), or have to prove their loyalty and right to belong by committing certain acts, usually theft or violence.

They’re not the youngsters who are staying out all night and getting mixed up in crime and turf wars.”The National Parent-Teacher Association recommends that parents contact their local police department to get a sense of the extent of gang activity, if any, in their community and schools.

Teenagers who are most vulnerable to the lure of gangs include those on the fringes of the social hierarchy.

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician.

There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

A member of a gang may be called a "gangster", a "gang banger", or, less specifically, a "thug".