Parents Guide to Gangs
Parents we are enclosing the following information from the Office of
Juvenile Justice and Delinquency for you. The information below
is a reprint posted by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
titled "A Parents’ Guide to Gangs from the Office of Juvenile Justice and
Parents should watch for these behaviors of your child;
The early adolescent
years (12-14 years of age) are a crucial time when youths are exposed to
gangs and may consider joining a gang.
Youths who are becoming involved may exhibit the following behaviors;
in one or two particular colors of clothing or a particular logo.
gang-influenced music, videos and movies.
drawings or gang symbols on schoolbooks, clothing, notebooks or even
Negative changes in behavior, such as;
attendance, performance, or behavior.
Staying out late
without a reason.
Unusual desire for
behavior, such as talking back, verbal abuse, name calling, and
disrespect for parents authority.
attitude about school, church, or other normal activities or change in
behavior at these activities.
Drastic changes in hair or dress style;
Or having a group of friends
who have the same hair or dress style.
Withdrawal from longtime friends;
Forming bonds with an entirely
new group of friends.
Such as alcohol, inhalants,
marijuana and narcotics.
presence of firearms;
Ammunition, or other types of
Non-accidental physical injuries;
Such as being beaten or
injuries to hands and knuckles from fighting.
Unexplained cash or goods;
Such as cash or jewelry that
you know the child has no legal access to.
Common gang identifiers;
Gang-style clothing and dress;
Gang members may use a
particular style of dress to identify with a particular gang, set, clique,
or crew. This might include clothing or bandanas worn only in certain colors
that are representative of a gang or group.
Other clothing that might be
worn by gang members could include pants worn well below the waist
(sagging); gang-themed T-shirts with pictures of gang members. Prison
scenes, graffiti, or slogans; two-or three toned bead necklaces; sports
clothing of a specific teams; or colored fabric belts, occasionally with a
metal buckle that includes the initial(s) of the gang.
However, gang clothing trends
change and may be different from one place to the another, so clothing alone
may not be enough to indicate a child’s affiliation with a particular gang,
though it can be a clue.
Many gangs use one or more
colors as a symbol to represent their gang. These colors may be worn on
shirts, bandanas, multicolored or single-colored beads, belts, hats, shoes,
shoelaces, headbands, jewelry and other items.
Symbols and Numbers;
Some symbols and numbers may
have special significance within the gang culture in a particular area.
A few common symbols from some
of the large gangs in the United States are stars (five-six pointed),
crowns, pitchforks, (pointed up or down), three dots in a triangle, and
Contact your local law enforcement to get specific information on
the meaning of unidentifiable symbols or numbers that you may
see in graffiti or clothing in your area.
Letters, colors, or symbols
have a specific meaning in local street-gang culture, such as Kansas City
Royals ( KC=Kill Crips ).
Sports items may be purchased
in a nontraditional color to correspond with the gang’s colors or may be
altered with graffiti or extra symbols or writing.
Gangs use graffiti to mark
their territory, brag about their reputation, mourn fallen members, and
threaten or challenge rival gangs. For this reason, graffiti can be very
dangerous and should be removed as soon as possible. Youths who are
participating in graffiti may have items such as spray paints, spray-paint
plastic tips, wide-tipped markers, or sketchbooks with graffiti works in
progress and may have paint on their clothing, backpacks, or other items.
Tattoos are used to show an
individual’s loyalty to his/her gang. These tattoos often include the name,
initials, or symbols of the specific gang and may be found on the hands,
neck, face, chest, or arms.
Some gangs use specific hand
gestures to communicate their affiliation with the gang and issue threats or
challenges to rival gangs.
Gangsta/gangster rap is a
style of rap music characterized by violent, tough-talking lyrics that
glorify street-gang culture. Many popular movies also focus on street gangs
and their activities. Youths may show their interest in gangs through
fascination with music and movies that portray street-gang culture.
What Parents Can Do;