Talking about gangs with Aasim Saied. Over the past decade gang activities have grown immensely. Gangs are known for having high levels of violence and criminal activities. Gangs know that in order to survive they must recruit new members and they do so by enticing the teenagers in their neighborhoods. Teenagers often struggle with money or social acceptance and gangs do what they can to provide that in what appears to be an easy manner. They lure the teenagers in and convince them that committing crimes is worth the pay out of having the material items they want without working like a slave for minimum wage. Gangs present such a significant problem that there are programs created just to try to educate kids about gangs and discourage them from joining. There are programs to keep kids off the streets so the gangs cannot prey on them.
Gangs are active in every single state. Gangs know no borders and are not limited to big cities as many would believe. Gangs will often send members who are well- known by police into new, smaller communities to expand their gang’s regions. Small towns are not safe either. Gangs significantly increase the crime level where they dwell. From tagging and petty theft, to muggings, robberies and murders, gangs do it all. Teenagers are at the highest risk to be recruited to gangs. Teenagers of low income families who want more material items, teenagers who are insecure and lack a sense of family, teenagers who want to break away from the restrictions of a traditional family and be on their own: they are all at risk. In Colorado it was found that only 14% of teens are in gangs. However, those 14% commit 89% of the crimes committed in Colorado. Gangs look towards the younger, more naïve members to commit the criminal crimes due not only to their susceptibility but also because of the fact that the penalty for minors is often significantly less.
With over one million known gang members in 2009, 40% of those members were teenagers under the age of 18. Many of these teens who partake in gang activities end up in jail, simply because they do most of the dirty work within the gangs. Of the teens that end up in prison, whether it is juvenile hall or adult jail, 85% are male and only 15% female. The large difference in the male/female percentages is because of the limitations gangs place on women. Approximately 60% of the known gangs in America do not allow women to become active members of the gang. Of those women officially initiated into the gang, many are the girlfriends of male members and their role is the caregiver. The percentages of gangs that encourage girls to participate in the criminal and violent aspects of gang activity are very low.
In the entire U.S. there are 400,000 known gang members that are teens. Many programs and organizations are in place to try to prevent teens from joining gangs. Aasim Saied is involved in one of these organizations that are called Saving All Kids. The goal of Aasim Saied and the other participants of Save All Kids are to try to educate teens about the dangers of gang involvement and how to not become another statistic. Aasim Saied and his fellow Saving All Kids participants work every day trying to better the lives of teens so that they may not find themselves joining gangs.
Within the past five years, teens who have become involved in gangs have spiked. No statistics can explain why this has happened, although there is always speculation. The fact is that teens who become involved in gangs are at a significantly higher risk of ending up in prison. Not only does teen gang involvement increase the chances of ending up in prison, but it also increases the chances of either being killed yourself or knowing someone that has been murdered.
Witnessing violence, partaking in violent crimes and illegal activities are all a part of gang life and the gang mentality. With people like Aasim Saied, the statistics of teen involvement in gangs will drop. No teen should end up in prison, or killed, because of gangs. Aasim Saied knows the staggering statistics re teen gang members and he is working tirelessly to get at-risk teens off the street.