Gang membership extracts a terrible toll from the lives of all who are in contact with the member. Families of gang members must be concerned for their own safety as well as that of their son or daughter who is a gang member. Friends who are not involved with gangs are cast aside and soon the youth's only friends are gang members.
Gang membership, although a temporary phase for some youths, will shape the individual's future. Formal education is discarded because it is counter to the gang's objectives. Gang members who are not killed or seriously injured often develop patterns of alcohol and narcotics abuse, and extensive police records that limit future employment opportunities.