Youth who dress like, imitate and hang out with gang members may be putting themselves in just as much risk as jumped-in gang
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.
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
Thank you to Robert Walker's Gangs Or Us for permission to use some of the information contained on this page.