Accurately Portraying Gangs

I see people romanticize gangs too much. It’s not pretty. I live in a scary neighborhood, in a city where gang violence is the highest in the country, and the top charts of the most dangerous. I see stories where gangs are extremely fancy and pretty. They’re NOT. There’s nothing wrong with writing a gang story as long as you do it accurately. Here’s what gang life is actually like based on what I’ve seen, and my research:


I see in stories where searching up information of someone is super fancy. It’s really not that fancy.
There are gangs called “hacking gangs” where criminals will be able to find your social security number, bank account information, house address, and even the exact digits to your credit card. This information can be sold onto the dark web, and that’s how identity theft can happen.
It’s not that fancy or special. They make millions.
They can search you up, but it’s not that cool.

Power and Territory

Gang life is extremely dangerous. I see in stories where everyone seems to just be living their life. It’s not that simple. Every day is a danger. You don’t know whether you’re going to come home alive. Gangs are highly organized, but it’s not that cool like you see in stories. They gain their reputation and power through violence. They strive for power over territories. You can be beat, shot, stabbed, or even killed for wearing the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood. An innocent sixteen year old can be brutally beat just for wearing a red shirt in the wrong neighborhood. It happens. It happens where I live. It’s not pretty, don’t make it look pretty or cool.


I see kidnappings seen as torture. I mean, rarely ever happens. People in gangs don’t kidnap rivals, enemies, etc for recent. They kidnap random people, adults and kids. They do this to make profit. They make millions each year. It’s not cute or cool. Don’t add it just to mix up the drama if it’s not accurate. People die— random people die.

Leaving Gangs and Why People Join

This is NOT as simple or easy as it seems in these stories. Once you’re in a gang, even if you’ve just started, you are in too deep. It’s extremely difficult to leave a gang, especially if you’ve been in a gang for years. Your name is known on the streets— not just by those who are in the same gang as you, but those who hate you. Like I said, it’s highly organized (not technical like that etc). It takes a lot to leave because you carry a lot as a member. Even if you do leave, it’s very easy to slip back into it. People don’t just join gangs randomly. People join gangs because they have no other option. Either it’s because they don’t have money, they have a poor family, they want the feeling of belonging, or they’re teens without the proper guidance in a bad environment. Poor families will live in poor areas. Poor areas have higher crime rates, and as well as gangs. Hard working families aren’t always home to supervise their children, so some don’t even know what their children are involved in, hence the lack of guidance and the kids being more likely to make bad choices. Some don’t even have a choice to join; some kids are forced into a gang. Gang members are loyal to each other, very loyal. Loyalty is how a gang is strong. It’s NOT pretty. It’s hard. Gang life is scary.

Street Life

Guys, gang life is very cold. The streets are never happy— I would know first hand. When you’re walking on the streets, you can’t even make eye contact without it meaning something bad or threatening. Walking down the streets of Baltimore is extremely scary. You must keep your head down or look into the distance and avoid eye contact with those who stare at you unless you want to send a bad message. Everyone is angry and cold towards people they don’t know. Not in a way episode stories make it. In a way where it can escalate to a fight. You don’t know what territory you are on all the time, so walking while looking in the distance or on the ground isn’t uncommon.
It also isn’t uncommon to get mugged, beat, or even shot as an innocent person walking on the streets of Baltimore. People die every day. Every. Single. Day. Someone is dying, shot, beat up, killed, etc. it happens all the time. It’s a type of normal.

Getting Arrested

I see stories where gang members don’t get arrested at all, and when they do, it’s like CRAZY dramatic. Actually- no, that’s not how it works. In Baltimore, and people out here get arrested all the time, multiple times. Gangs are based on petty offenses. Not very serious to things very serious . A lot of gang members get arrested repeatedly for fights, drug dealing, petty offenses. They get arrested all the time. Sometimes there’s actually undercover police officers who pretend to be druggies to catch these people (gang members actually have a way to be able to tell if it’s an undercover police officer but not all).

How Violent They Can Be

This following information may be graphic to some.

Gan violence is serious! You think it’s something you can just sugar coat?
A 15 year old was mistaken as another guy for sleeping with a gang member’s sister. That gang member recruited a group of his friends and beat the innocent 15 year old while he was screaming, trying to tell the guys that they got the wrong person, They slashed his neck with a knife and killed him before escaping. That is a true story.
Gangs are extremely dangerous. If you step on their toes, they will get people to kill you. You don’t know the gang life until you have to be scared to walk outside. It’s not easy. Don’t make it look easy.

Before you write a story, do your research


Thanks. I’m not writing a gang story myself but this would help people who want to.




Actually most gangs have a certain way out its either there is no way out and they kill you or you are just on the run. There really is no way out. And gangs actually recruit kids out of middle school and high school. It really is kind of a choice. Because to get into a gang they have some sort of ceremony like for example they might make a highschooler kill someone or a middle schooler steal. I do really appreciate this though I think I am one of the only authors who’s google drive is full of info about gangs as well as mafias. The notes in my phone are full of them as well. :joy: I know all about how gangs started and I know of all the gangs in New York. I also did a school presentation which kinda sparked my desire. :joy: This is really cool though!


Correct. They will want to kill you, which is why it’s extremely difficult to get out of one. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Even some who escape the gang life are very likely to slip back in unless they move into a completely different area

There are many adults in gangs. Many adults. If you look at personal experiences of gang embers on the New York Times, you’ll see many stories. You’re right though, there’s many teens too! A lot of people in my school are gangs (from where I live). But a lot of adults in their 20’s and some even in 30’s do participate in gangs. You may know gangs in New York, but I know gangs in Baltimore!

Thank you!! I was hoping this could help certain people! I appreciate it :hugs::hugs:


I also didn’t see the part where you said about the New York until later into my paragraph so sorry if I sounded insulting :sob: @ShadowsStories


Lmao, it’s ok! :joy: :icecream:


I’m so sorry, I don’t mean to sound rude at all or seem to drag it on :sob: I really don’t, but I forgot to mention that some gangs don’t need kids to start killing. They can start by making kids drug deal first by holding supplies and selling etc. You should read The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore! Since you seem really Interested din this stuff, you will really like that book!

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Oh yea I forgot about that most gangs sell a drug called PCP Also known as water in the streets. I just meant that the initiation ritual for most gangs, not all that they do.


Now that i did not know. And I never thought a drug could be called water :joy:

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The gangs in Baltimore are no joke, at all. Also, thank you for making this topic. It always baffles me when I see people lust over gang members.


They’re absolutely not. It’s a shitload of gunfights here :joy::joy: and yes, that baffles me too! In reality, dating a gang member is not as cute as it seems :grimacing:



Thank you for this <3 so many stories romanticize gang/mafia life, I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has a problem with this


of course. It makes me really mad when people make this lifestyle look easy, when homicides and gang violence is one of the biggest problem in my country in regards to death. Romantic? lmao, this reality in a real gang life only knows abandoned teens and children without parents as their romance

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Oh my goodness! Guns aren’t allowed in my country. That’s just really terrifying. For some reason in tv shows and movies the Americans always say “everyone in Australia is a criminal” and I’m just like ‘what’?

The fact that there are murders and very dangerous gangs scares the flipping life out of me.

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Are you serious?
Where I live, there’s gunfights and murders every single day in the city.
There’s been a new record of 5 days in a row without murder for the the first time in forever only because of COVID-19. Usually, there’s one killing every day and at least a bunch of fatal/deadly wounded people :grimacing:

That’s a normal thing in my area so it’s really no surprise to me lmao


Ahhh! Well, I just searched it up and it said there were about 240 murders in 2013 in Australia, so, maybe it isn’t that safe but compared to the U.S I don’t know.


it’s a high number, but be grateful you live in a safer area. The murders where I live reached up to over 300 for one city. It isn’t as bad a chicago though. Chicago once hit the almost 1000 for one city

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Thank you for this, this community needs it!
Hope you have a good week, stay safe