Learn About Gangs

  • What can I and my Neighbors do: 

    • Learn about gangs and signs of gang activity.
    • Join with others to make your neighborhood gang-free.
    • Sharpen your skills as a parent and use them. (Young people as young as nine or ten are joining gangs in ever-growing numbers in all parts of the country. The reasons they give for joining are remarkably similar: 
      • to belong to a group
      • for excitement
      • to get protection
      • to earn money
      • to be with friends
    • Gangs leave signs of their presence. As gang members, young people may adopt specific behavior, such as:
      • wearing specific colors or emblems
      • use of special colors or emblems
      • wearing certain kinds and colors of clothing in very specific ways
      • possessing unexplained, relatively large sums of money
      • grades and interest in school decline
      • increased absenteeism
      • “hanging” with known or suspected gang members
      • carrying weapons

    Signs of Possible Pre-Gang Behavior

    A combination of these warning signs may indicate possible gang involvement.

    • Live in a high-risk neighborhood with unemployment, high homeless rate, strong ethnic community, and few recreational facilities.
    • Sudden change in friends and/or change of appearance.
    • Disrespect for authority, family, and school.
    • Strong interest in martial arts.
    • Withdrawal from family, desire for excessive privacy, staying out late.
    • Increased substance abuse.
    • Having unusually large amounts of money, asking for or stealing money, extravagant spending.
    • Using unknown vocabulary, gang slang, fractured sentences, excessive swearing, and hand signals.
    • Unusual pen marks, bruises, burns, or drawings of graffiti symbols and names on skin or personal items.

    More Information about Gangs

    Gangs such as Bloods, Crips, People, and the Folks have spread nationwide and infiltrated even close-knit neighborhoods.

    • The average life span of a gang member is 20 years and 5 months.
    • Members may acquire a nickname, based on their talent and responsibility.
    • Gang members are proud of their illegal and violent acts.

    Each of the many gangs in the U.S. has the potential to develop into a more structured gang.

    • Scavenger or neighborhood gangs, also called posses, are formed for social support and companionship. They are informal, with no set region. The bond between members is the need to impress others.
    • Ethnic gangs are organized within a neighborhood according to cultural traditions and ethnic identity.
    • Territorial gangs adopt a specific turf or area and use intimidation to maintain complete control over it.
    • Organized, criminal and corporate gangs have strong leadership and a common goal of making money through intimidation, stealing, and drug trafficking.
    • Violent or hate gangs are usually motivated by ethnic, racial, or social bias and have a common interest to harm others with or without weapons.