Knowledge is the Key to
Keeping Our Youth
from Becoming Gang Members
What is a Gang?
There are many definitions of
Fundamentally, a gang is a group of people that engage in violent,
unlawful and criminal behavior. They typically have a name, claim a
territory or turf, distinguish themselves from other groups and their
members hang out together on a continuous basis.
There is no ethnic
predisposition to gang
involvement. Gang members can be white, black, Asian, Jamaican,
Dominican, Cuban, etc. All ethnicities participate in the gang culture.
One general misconception is that each gang is made up of only a single
ethnic group but this is usually not true.
See the side panel
for the broad
categories of gangs.
Know Your Kids: Signs Your
Kid May be in a Gang?
Look for Gang Signs, Hand
Strong Preference for a
Dramatic Change in Dress
Have Extra Money that You
Going Out Late and Staying
Skipping School or Cutting
See the side panel
for a list of
symbols. Look for them in your child's notebooks, doodlings and
Some Reasons Kids Join Gangs
Parties, girls, drugs or
Want respect and power
Seeking a feeling of caring
almost like a family
Mr. Leonard says "Give life
back to the
kids, its about the children". Provide kids with a family at home so
they don't seek out a family on the streets.
These seem like everyday kids but
they have several gang-related signs:
Tilted baseball cap
Pulled up pants on the left leg
Red items represent the gang's
hats are being sold in New York city and are gang-like in nature with
the crown symbol and colored bandanas. The style targets our youth and
glorifies the gang culture.
seen these caps worn out of place?
are now being worn by some gang members. The Phillies and Cowboys cap
for the People's Nation and the Boston Red Sox cap for the Bloods.
Selected Gang Hand Signs
Do Not Use These
Signs to be Cool or for Fun!
Gang Members and their Rivals Take Them Very Seriously.
Signs made below the waist are done by a rival gang
to disrespect another gang.
Means "Whats up blood?
A five pointed star is associated with the People's
The C stands for the Crips and the blue wrist band
represents their color.
Gang members use a wide
different weapons to commit crimes for money, drugs, etc. They also
carry weapons to protect themselves from rival gangs or to hurt their
There are many styles of guns
that can be easy hidden on one's person. But almost anything can be
misused as a weapon. Those that are less obvious and harder to detect
are also very dangerous. Keep this in mind when observing your own kids
or working with children in schools or other settings. Finding a weapon
on a child is a good indicator that they are hanging with the wrong
crowd, if not already in a gang, and need some intervention.
Box cutters and common knives.
Weapons can appear as common objects such as a
comb, lighter or eraser.
The comb portion would go unnoticed sticking out of
someone's pants pocket or hat. Yet, the other end is a sharp pick and
can be used as a dangerous weapon. The lighter is fully functional and
also has a spring loaded blade. The eraser was removed from the
container and replaced with a razor blade.
Consequences of Being in a
Conflict with rival gangs
that may lead
to serious injury or even death
Family members may also be
Learning bad habits and even
arrested when just hanging out or associating with gang members
Statistics to Think About
It is estimated that 39% of
in 2000 had at least one female member; 2% of gangs were identified as
being composed of predominantly female members (FASTEN Network Gang
Statistics). Females are allowed to join gangs by being born-in
(related to a family member), sexed-in or committing a crime.
Nationwide, alcohol is a
factor in 80% of homicides (California Wellness Foundation).
A gun in the home is 43 times
to be used to kill a family member or friend or to commit suicide than
to defend oneself (New England Journal of Medicine, 1986).
Annual Maximum Number of Gang
of Gang Members
No Data Reported
3 or Fewer
More Than 30
Table and Chart: National
Center (2007). National Youth Gang Survey Analysis. Retrieved 11-2007
Read: Gang graffiti can be very dangerous and a threat to many.
Record: Graffiti should be photographed.
Report: Graffiti should be reported to your local police department.
Remove: Graffiti should be removed immediately after it is discovered.
Mr. Leonard points out gang-related graffiti on the
side of a tractor trailer found in Monroe County, PA.
"King" is the person's street name. The "LOC" means
"Love of Crips" and the up arrow gives respect to the Crips e.g.,
"Crips Up". The author of this graffiti may be a neebie since Crips
almost always write in blue. Red is the color used by Bloods.
These photos of graffiti were taken at a
stop in a private lake community. The video discusses the
photos and other incidents of hate in Pike County.
The vandals are likely white supremacist and
satanist. The Circle-A is an anarchist symbol. "KKK" and swastika
are Neo-Nazi symbols. The upside down cross is a satanic symbol.
Michael Leonard Keynote Speaker
"Unsung Heros of Black History"
African American Student Association, ESU Sunday, 2/12/12
Graffiti is vandalism but not all
graffiti is the same. A graffiti artist is just one particular person
who does it for the fame and wants to see their name in lights. Gang
graffiti is done to mark a territory and as a status symbol. It also
communicates messages and is often referred to as the "newspaper of the
street". Gangs have their own symbols, alphabet and language.
6 Droppin and 5 Poppin
Folk Nation "6"
will be hurt by the People Nation "5"
Playboy Bunny = Prostitution
Wacky Rabbit = Drugs
$ Money = Drugs
believed the offenders were gang members in about 12% of all aggravated
assaults that occurred between 1993 and 2003.
Offenders were identified as gang members in about 4% of rapes, 10% of
robberies, and 6% of simple assaults.