Gang Awareness

Taken from the pamphlet "What Can I Do to Keep My Kids From Joining a Gang?" sponsored by Radio Shack, National Crime Prevention Council, and the National Sheriff’s Association.

Today many communities, maybe even yours, are facing serious problems with gangs. As a member of the community, you may feel helpless against gangs, but there are things you can do in conjunction with the authorities to prevent or reduce gang problems. And as a parent, there's a lot you can do to keep your own children from joining gangs.
Hands in handcuffs behind a person's back

What You Can Do

  • Join with others to make or keep your neighborhood gang-free
  • Learn about gangs
  • Learn about gangs and signs of gang activity
  • Sharpen your skills as a parent and use them

Reasons Why People Join Gangs

Young people (as young as 9 or 10 years old) are joining gangs in ever-growing numbers in all parts of the country. The reasons they give for joining are remarkably similar:
  • For excitement
  • To be with friends
  • To belong to a group
  • To earn money
  • To get protection

Signs of Gangs

Gangs leave signs of their presence. As gang members, young people may adopt specific behavior, such as:
  • "Hanging" with known or suspected gang members
  • Carrying weapons
  • Declining grades and interest in school
  • Possessing unexplained, relatively large sums of money
  • Staying out without good reason
  • Using special hand signals
  • Wearing certain kinds or color of clothing in very specific ways
  • Wearing or drawing gang symbols - on walls as graffiti or on books, paper or clothing
  • Wearing specific colors or emblems