WHAT'S A PARENT TO DO ABOUT GANGS?
Once found only in large cities, gangs have invaded
communities of all sizes across the United States. Gangs bring fear and violence
to neighborhoods, traffick in drugs, destroy property, and drive out businesses.
Gangs Draw young people away from school and home into a life of violence.
LEARN ABOUT GANGS:
Gangs can be organized around race or ethnic group, money making activities or
territory Most gang members are male; ranging in age from 8 to 22 years. Young
people give various reasons for joining gangs. Among the most common to belong
to a group, for protection, to earn money, for excitement, and to be with
friends For some, it's even a family tradition Gangs signal their existence and
solidarity through clothing and head coverings, a special vocabulary, tattoos,
hand signs, and tagging their territory with graffiti. "Gangsta" rap paints a
realistic picture of daily gang activity. The lyrics glorify violence, abuse of
woman, and disrespect for authority, especially the police, Its popularity among
the young has helped spread the culture of gangs, cutting across class,
economic, racial, and geographic lines.
SIGNS THAT YOUR CHILD MIGHT BE IN
Changes in type of friends Changes in dress habits, such as wearing the same
color combination all the time. Gang symbols on books or clothing. Tattoos
Secretiveness about activities Extra cash from unknown sources Carrying a weapon
Declining interest in school and family. Being arrested or detained by the
police. If you notice these patterns, get help. Contact the school counselor or
the gang crime unit of your police department.
MAKE SURE YOUR CHILD DOESN'T NEED
Show your child love with lots of hugs and reassurances. Talk with and listen to
your child. Supervise your children's activities. Help them get involved in
athletics or other activities that interest them. Know about your child's
friends and their friends' families. Put a high value of education and help your
child to do his or her best in school. Do everything possible to prevent
dropping out. Talk about your values and why you think gangs are dangerous.
Discuss the violence, drug dealing, hatred of other groups for no reason, and
the likelihood of being arrested and imprisoned.
And don't forget to listen as well
WHAT COMMINUTES CAN DO TO KEEP
Develop positive alternatives---after school, weekend, and
summer activities where children and teens can learn, expand their world, and
have some fun. Encourage parents to talk to one another through school forums,
social events, networks, parenting classes, and support groups. Cooperate with
police and other agencies. report suspicious activity, set up a Neighborhood
Watch, or citizen patrol, volunteer to clean up graffiti in and around you
community. Get organized and show gangs that your neighborhood has zero
tolerance for their activities. Your community has many resources who can work
together against gangs, including law enforcement, civic groups, religious
congregations, schools, youth agencies, Boys & Girls Clubs, YM/YWCA, Girl
Scouts, and Boy Scouts, drug treatment services, and community centers. For
Information contact: Boys & Girls Clubs of America 1230 West Peachtree Street,
NW Atlanta Ga. 30309 404-815-5700 National PTA 330 North Wabash, Suite 2100
Chicago, IL. 60611-3690 312-670-6782 National Youth Gang Information Center P O
Box 12729 Tallahassee, Fl. 32317 904-385-0600, ext. 226,285, or 259