BASTA header

Youth who dress like, imitate and hang out with gang members may be putting themselves in just as much risk as jumped-in gang members.

Simply put, a rival gang member is not going to stop and ask if their perceived rival is a wanna-be or if he is the real deal. He will simply act or react and the end result could be injury or death.

Download print version

Why Youth Join Gangs

Levels of Gang Involvement

Girls and Gangs

Girls and Gangs Videos

En Espanol

Levels of Gang Involvement

This guide provides a basic understanding of the different levels of gang involvement. Youth do not become gang members overnight—it a process, and it is common for the levels to overlap.

"It is important to understand that the law does not differentiate between the various levels. “Committing a crime while actively participating, or for the benefit of a gang, or in association with a gang, can subject youth to enhanced penalties whether they are just low level "wannna-be's", "associates", or actual "gang members."
-Mario Sulay, Commander,
Santa Cruz County, Gang Task Force

Wannabe

Associate

Gang Member

Thank you to Robert Walker's Gangs Or Us for permission to use some of the information contained on this page.

BASTA home Santa Cruz County Office of Education Santa Cruz Police Department Watsonville Police Department Santa Cruz County Gang Task Force Criminal Justice Council