Preventing crime and maintaining safe communities is everyone's responsibility. By practising the following personal and property safety tips, you can help reduce the incidents of crime and keep your community safe.
Unlike a peer group, youth gangs tend to engage in unlawful or antisocial behaviour and usually have graffiti as well as turf areas marked by the graffiti. Members can range from ages 8 – 30 and usually become involved for a sense of belonging.
The following is a list of things that parents need to look for. Please note that having one or a few of these identifiers does not necessarily mean that your child is a gang member, but it may indicate possible involvement and should be addressed immediately:
- What is your child’s relationship with people in the neighbourhood?
- Does your child have new friends?
- Is your child dressing differently – Any specific colours that advertise the name of the gang?
- Is your child’s hat, shoes, shoelaces, sneakers, haircut, bandanna, scarf and/or jewellery the same as his/her friends?
- Is your child drawing graffiti logos on t-shirts?
- Is your child sometimes bruised (signs of gang initiation)?
- Is there a tattoo or body writing?
- Is there graffiti on schoolbooks or in their room?
- Are there signs of drug use or possession?
- Does your child have money he/she can’t explain?
- Is your child getting into trouble with the law?
- Does your child suddenly have a nickname?
- Are there problems at school with falling grades or truancy?
- Does your child have a weapon?
- Is your child beginning to stay out late?
- Withdrawal from family?
- Withdrawal from former friends?
- Abrupt change in personality?
- Unexplained possessions?
- Alcohol or drug abuse?
What to Do?
- Spend time with your children – discuss the issue of gangs.
- If you suspect a problem, talk to your child’s teachers and the police. You have to ask questions to get answers.
- Join the Parent Teacher Association at your child’s school.
- Develop a neighbourhood watch programme.
- Report any gang activity to the police
- Don’t permit children to attend unsupervised parties.
- Don’t overlook the potential for females to be involved in gangs.
- Do notify schools and the police of gang related incidents.
- Do know that many youths associated with gangs deny their involvement, claiming they are just hanging out with a group of friends.
- Do control your child’s exposure to negative activities, friends, etc.
- Do escort students to and from school if they fear being assaulted or threatened.
- Do work with groups to remove graffiti from property, buildings, etc.
For more information please refer to our Parent's Reference Card - Gangs,Guns & Drugs.