What happens to street gang members as they get older

I’m asking more about the serious members, not the hanger ons.

Had that been studied? Say you have a group of 100 hardcore gang members in their teens. What happens to them in 40 years?

I would assume a big % are dead or serving life in prison.

What % are homeless? What % are middle class? What % are working poor?

Did anyone take a study of hardcore gang members in the 1970s or 80s or so, then try to figure out where they are now?

Don’t know the answers to your overall question, but here’s a fascinating paper of some real analysis of a drug gang.

Looks pretty much like the first chapter of the Freakonomics book

Oh, the paper does say “Finally, drug selling is an extremely dangerous activity. Death rates in the sample are 7 percent annually”.

Nicky Cruz is the ex leader of a New York City gang, the Mau Maus.

He’s been a Evangelist since the 1960’s.

The Mau Maus were a Brooklyn projects gang.

I don’t know about street gangs, but all my friends that were big into selling drugs in the 70’s and early 80’s have drifted into various crappy jobs. A couple are dead, mostly the result of substance abuse, and smoking. I remember talking to a guy that sold $300k of weed in 1974. At the end of the year, all he had to his name was $50, a rusty 72 Pinto, and a motorcycle that didn’t run. He died @60, diabetes and cancer go him. I guess the beer, tobacco, and twinke diet doesn’t work. He was also broke when he died, his siblings had to cover his funeral.

The coauthor, Venkatesh, also wrote a book-length treatment called Gang Leader For A Day.

Several guys in Sudhir’s book provided services for the gang - repairing cars and so on. That’s a likely avenue for older gang members, too.

A family member went into selling drugs to finance an education at high end schools. When he graduated, he tried to leave the drug selling world.

Bad move. He had a price on his head, and had to leave the country to stay alive.

The people I know who were really seriously involved in gangs as youths are, in some cases, still involved. Some are in prison. Some are dead. Some went straight and are working honest jobs. Of that last group, none of them are what you would call wildly successful.

There were about 20 guys in my group that I hung with in high school. I mostly broke away from them after high school. At least 12 of them were dead before the age of 25, maybe 3 of us straightened out and did ok but we weren’t quite as hardcore from the beginning. As far as I know the remaining few ended up on the streets and jails. Drug overdose and suicide were the number 1 causes of death followed by car accidents and murder. All drug related.

Don’t forget alcohol.

Seems like every time I talk to a born again Christian they tell me all about how they were hell on wheels when they were a teen.

I’ve seen this a lot, and in some cases others who knew them earlier in life later told me they were the most bellicose of troublemakers…to the degree “hell on wheels” is putting it mildly.

In other cases, the stories turn out to be complete fabrications for the sake of a more dramatic conversion story.

There was one example I heard of that was pretty pathetic and hilarious at the same time. I lived in a town on the South Shore of Long Island until the 9th grade and then moved away and have never been back - even to visit, even once - but for a while I was a member of the If You Grew Up In… group for that town on FaceBook.

There were sociopathic kids in this town, as I guess there are in most any town, the kind you read about in the books from the 50s and 60s with the leather jackets and stuff who pick on smaller kids. My theory is a lot of communities on Long Island had problems with this because the population was too closely packed together in the first-generation 'burbs, and it gets like rats in a coffee can.

But I swear, a few years ago in this FB group, there was some once and future punk in his early 60s who still acted and sounded like he was in junior high school. He still sounded like He’s Gonna Ride His Bike To People’s Houses After School And Beat Them Up, or Him And His Friends Will Meet You Down At The Bridge Behind The School Because You Asked His (long-vanished) Girlfriend Out, or Give Me Your Lunch Money. Eventually they blocked him out of the group because, put simply, he was being a dick.

But you know how something can sound and be so ridiculous you laugh at the poor schnook even though you feel you should feel sorry for him? Dude. You graduated from high school in 1973, you still sound like you’re in detention for smoking in the boy’s room, and your crowning achievement in life is McMopping the McFloor. If that’s your maximum ability in life, that’s fine - but show some humility and civility and undickishness. The rest of us moved the hell away.

I think that’s where a lot of the surviving gang members and high-school toughs end up, is poor and alone. I visualize him limping down the street with his cane, trying to catch up to people so he can hit them over the head with it, or forcing them to drink Geritol. I’m kind of surprised he didn’t end up in the Great South Bay in 1987, generously contributing his mortal remains to the lobster industry.

That’s why I included a link on the Mau Maus a Puerto Rican street gang. They were implicated in a notorious murder just after Cruz left. His best friend, Israel Narvaez was running the gang at the time. He also eventually became a Christian and left the gang.

I guess compared to todays Crips and Bloods the 1950’s gangs were in a different league. They fought with chains and knives. Killings were less common. Today’s gangs often shoot first instead of fighting.

His car rusted out in just 3 years?

Yeah, I’ve read about cops who dealt with inner-city drug dealers who bragged, “I make more money in a week than you do in a year!” and the officer replied, “So, why do you still live here?” Good question.

'72 Pinto? Plausible.

I should have said rusty, not rusted out. It wasn’t only Pintos, pretty much everything rusts here in Michigan. I saw a Pinto station wagon in Florida a couple years ago, I was amazed.

I have a friend that used to be a counselor in a youth prison here in Michigan. He told me that 17 year old kids would taunt him - “ I got a Rolex, you got a Rolex?” When he tried to tell them that selling drugs could get you killed, the response was that then, they wouldn’t have anything to worry about.