Gangs in Oakland




Why might someone join a gang? Is it for protection, to be cool or what? Could a gang be the only option to have protection? Gangs are a small or a big group of criminal people.Some criminal gang members are “jumped in” or have to prove their loyalty by committing acts such as theft or violence. A member of a gang may be called a gangster or a thug.Also gangs may claim having control over territory in a community. From my research, it is clear that people join gangs for protection, but even so, gangs only cause problems in someone’s life, therefore there should be support programs to help people not join gangs and get out of gangs if they join.


To begin, people join gangs just to protect themselves. In the article “Element of racism among rival latino gang in Oakland” by Scott Johnson, it explains “Joining a gang was how I protected myself. I knew this was a group that would protect me. It was the only option I had”(Johnson). This source is credible because it was published May 22,2011 and also this article is related to my topic.This is explaining that the girl( Karina Najeva) had to join a group of gangs because she wanted protection.This is also showing that some people may join the group just because they really need someone to protect them. This girl had no choice but to decide that she had to join a group of gangs.


However, at the end gangs are not good and they only cause problems. “The past years the amount of gangs have increased and the most notable trends for 2011 have been the overall increase in gang membership and the expansion of criminal street gangs’ control of street-level drug sales and collaboration with rival gangs and other criminal organizations”(Frieden).Also the amount of crime that gangs have made has increased over the past 3 years. Over the past three years, the relative amount of crime inflicted by gang members appears to have increased. The new FBI report claims that gangs are responsible for 48% of violent crime (Frieden). This people don’t think before joining a gang. A oakland resident said  “People who join a gang group don’t think that  their lives is not going to be the same anymore or if they are going to end up in bad terms”(Personal Interview). This says that  people just don’t see what are the consequences of being a part of a gang. In this case gang is a powerful word which means that gangs are the problem that there is a lot of violence in Oakland.  Some people may argue that gangs don’t cause problems and that there’s consequences for joining in, But this is not true because of the evidence I found was that gangs bring violence and that they are the one doing crimes.


Furthermore, someone should stop gangs from preventing more violence in this community  and they should have programs. A oakland resident  said ¨There should be a program for youths so they won’t join a group of gangs and be safe in their own way. Also parents need to have the responsibility to check on their kids about if they are in bad steps or if they are being obligated to join a gang group. Parents should take their kids to a program where they talk about the consequences someone has when they enter in a gang member¨(Personal Interview). This person is credible because the date I interviewed was in 2017 . The purpose of this information is to get someone else idea about gangs. This is saying that if young teens are in a gang member they should know what will happen to them. Also this is saying although teens be in programs they won’t care about what will happen to them, they will still want to join just because some of them think when they join they have power or they get anything they want.


To conclude, gang members think that joining in may be a good idea but they don’t know how their lives will change,since it’s a really big impact in their lives. Gangs are not the only option to get protection, there are many other ways to stay protected.


Work Cited

“Gang interview”. Personal Interview. 9 Jan. 2017

“Gang Interview”. Personal Interview. 8 Jan. 2017

“FBI Report: Gang membership Spikes.” Web. 18 Jan. 2017.

“Element of racism among rival Latino gangs in Oakland” Article. 10 Jan. 2017.


Photo by Lenny K Photography


CC BY-SA 4.0 Living In a world of Gangs by Paulina is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Adrian 2 years ago

    Dear Paulina,

    Your post about the reasons why people join gangs and the consequences that comes with it are very insightful. People can at times feel like they need to join a gang to stay safe. They feel that if they are not in a gang, nobody would be able to protect them if someone were to take advantage of them. This type of mentality seems to be common throughout the United States.

    Like you mentioned in your post, some people do not realize what they are getting themselves into when they join a gang. People tend to forget that gangs are responsible for a lot of violent crime. They expect you to also commit violent crimes when the times come.

    I also agree with you that we need to prevent kids from heading down that path. Teens need to have a safe place where they can stay at after school. Communities in Oakland need more teen centers. Without teen centers, teenagers will be out in the streets possibly hanging out with other teens that are of bad influence.


  2. San 2 years ago

    Dear Paulina,
    In my opinion, every single individual, even gang members imagine a future that doesn’t include gangs. They get into crimes and criminal justice system without any institutional supports contribute to their lives. Lack of supports and attention at home, these teenagers seek to attain recognition for their activities, whether criminal or not. Some youth grow up in a neighborhood where gangs are almost a way of life, experiences since they were little.
    I’m very interested in the topic you have chosen. If you could tell me more about what are some other ways for teens to stay protected, when they can’t even secure their safety after joining gangs. I will look forward your reply and your other posts.
    Stay on your game and keep going forward for your dreams and education.
    San Ly

  3. Ashley 2 years ago

    Dear Paulina:
    Your drawing reminds me of something that I made once. One time I was going t o visit my friend and looking in the sky I was looking for the way that the science and earth is. Hope you can tell me more of the ways gangs do to other people life.

  4. uihwiud kuhdgius 2 years ago

    Dear Paulina,

    I am interested in your post because there are lots of gangs in Oakland. I want to know why there are gangs and why kids are so interested in them.

    One thing you said that stands out for me is: “To begin, people join gangs just to protect themselves.” I think this is confusing because why would they protect themselves by putting themselves in danger?
    Your post reminds me of something that happened to me. One time i seen a tv show called jail and people were in gangs to not get beat up or killed.
    Thanks for your project. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because gangs in oakland need a explanation.

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