Part VII


Gangs are neither just a big city or inner city problem, nor are they a problem of a particular race or culture. Gangs cross all ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, gender, and geographic boundaries. They bring fear and violence to neighborhoods, traffic in drugs, destroy property, involve youth in crime, and drive out businesses. Gangs pull teens away from school and home into a life of violence.

One of the scariest aspects of gang violence is it’s often indiscriminate and unpredictable. Gang members have been known to kick, punch, hit, or even kill their victims. People get hurt if they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. If gangs or gang members are in your school or neighborhood, you know it.


Gangs can be organized around race or ethnic group, money making activities, or territory.

Gangs usually claim a particular area of town which they call their “turf. ” They spend much of their time fighting rival gangs to keep them out of this territory.

Most gang members are males ranging in age from 8 to 22 years old. Females, especially Asian and Hispanic, are moving away from the traditional role of being merely girlfriends of gang members and are forming their own gangs.

Gangs wear particular items, styles, brands, or colors of clothing. Some gangs wear bandannas of a certain color or baseball caps of a specific team. Some gangs mark their bodies with tattoos with their gang symbol or name.

Gangs often use special hands signs or handshakes to tell others the gang to which they belong.

“Gangsta ” rap paints a realistic picture of daily gang activity. The lyrics glorify violence, abuse of women, and disrespect for authority, especially the police.

Contrary to what you may think, gangs are not around to help you. These groups of young people break the law, beat up people, and murder.


Parents’ Guide for Preventing Gangs

Many communities (maybe the one you live in) have serious problems with gangs. There are many kinds of gangs, but whatever kind you community is dealing with, gangs spell trouble. They cause fear, destroy property, threaten or hurt peaceable residents, and drive out businesses. Parents can do a lot to prevent gang problems or top reduce gang problems already in place. Most important, there’s a lot that parents like you can do to keep your own children from joining gangs.



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