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Guardian Self Defense and Security Blog

Gang Involvement Protecting Our Youth

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The number of gangs as well as individual gang members continues to increase in the US. The threat posed to personal and home security is very real and dangerous. No longer are gangs found only occupying urban areas or inner cities. Gangs have begun successfully setting up shop in many suburban and even rural regions. Gangs are responsible for a large number of violent crime and violence in many of our communities. The focus of most gang activity is on drug trafficking, but more and more gangs have begun to diversify there illegal activity to include the trafficking of weapons and aliens. Gang members work diligently at recruiting young men and women to join them. Recruits are typically drawn in by the promise of money, sex, and power. They recruit very young and seem to be everywhere. In addition to our schools and streets; recruiting is now online and in social networking sites. As parents we must do everything possible to educate our children, as well as ourselves, about gangs present in our communities. It is our job as parents to recognize and help prevent gang involvement. Success depends on education and awareness. By no means is this an all-encompassing reference, but it is a great starting point. Things to watch for
  • Spends time with or admits to "hanging out" with kids in gangs
  • Shows an unusual interest in one or two particular colors of clothing or a particular logo
  • Has an unusual interest in gangster-influenced music, videos, movies, or websites
  • Uses unusual hand signals to communicate with friends
  • Has specific drawings or gang symbols on school books, clothes, walls, or tattoos
  • Comes home with unexplained physical injuries (fighting-related bruises, injuries to hand/knuckles)
  • Has unexplained cash or goods, such as clothing or jewelry
  • Carries a weapon
  • Has been in trouble with the police
  • Exhibits negative changes in behavior such as: Withdrawing from family
  • Declining school attendance, performance, behavior
  • Staying out late without reason
  • Displaying an unusual desire for secrecy
  • Exhibiting signs of drug use
  • Breaking rules consistently
  • Speaking in gangstyle slang
What Parents Can Do to Prevent Gang Involvement
  • Increase the amount of quality time spent with your child
  • Get involved in your child's school activities
  • Be a positive role model and set the right example
  • Know your child's friends and their families
  • Encourage good study habits
  • Teach your child how to cope with peer pressure
  • Help your child develop good conflict/resolution skills (See www.safeyouth.org/scripts/teens/conflict.asp)
  • Encourage your child to participate in positive after school activities with adult supervision (recreation centers, organized sports, youth groups)
  • Take action in your neighborhood (create a neighborhood alliance, report and remove graffiti)
  • Talk with your child about the dangers and consequences of gang involvement. Let your child know that you don't want to see him or her hurt or arrested. Explain to your child that he or she should NOT: Associate with gang members
  • Attend parties or social events sponsored by gangs
  • Use hand signs, symbols, or language that is meaningful to gangs
  • Wear clothing, including specific colors, which may have meaning to gangs in your area
  • Resource provided by National Gang Intelligence Center.

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