A guide to community awareness
This information is to help parents determine if their child is either at risk in becoming associated with or is involved in gang activity. Indicators of gang association outlined in this brochure may generally fit a variety of youths. If parents observe more than one indicator, they should talk to their child about their concerns.
WHAT IS A GANG?
A gang is a group of three or more people who associate together, have a common identity and engage in criminal or delinquent activity. The gang may use a name, color, clothing style, tattoos, or other items to identify themselves. A gang may or may not claim control over a certain territory in the community.
WHY PEOPLE JOIN GANGS
There are many reasons people join gangs. Attention, excitement, peer pressure, protection, and financial gain are a few. In some families, gang membership is a tradition.
Other people become gang members because they think gangs are trendy. Many youths do not realize the risks and hazards of gang involvement.
Parents may not be aware of their child's involvement. Parents should discuss gangs with their child and actively discourage gang association.
SIGNS OF GANG ASSOCIATION
Parents should be aware of behavior changes in their children. Such changes include; a decline in grades, truancy, graffiti in the youth's room, on school folders or on clothes, wearing of certain style or color of clothes, breaking of curfew, change in friends, drug and/or alcohol use, or possession of money or items that a parent cannot explain. Involvement of your child with a group of their friends in delinquent or criminal behavior may be another sign. Some gang members devise hand signals to communicate with other gang members. Use of such signals should alert parents to possible gang association.