Gangs and Prevention Paul, Lauren, Chris, Kristy, and Tim What is a Gang? A "criminal street gang" means any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having as one of its primary activities the commission of felony or violent misdemeanor offenses, or delinquent acts that would be felonies or violent misdemeanors if committed by an adult, and having a common name or common identifying sign, colors, or symbols. N.C.G.S.15A-1340.16 (2a) Top Gangs In North Carolina 18th Street Crips Bloods Latin Kings MS 13 SUR 13 United Blood Nation Vice Lords Gang Distribution in North Carolina Quick Stats Average age is 17 – 18 years old. Males teens are more likely to join gangs than females. However, 78% of females have reported being in gang fights. 65% of females reported carrying a weapon for protection. 39% of females reported attacking someone with a weapon. Why Do Young People Join Gangs? A gang often meets needs that go unfulfilled in other areas of a young person's life. The gang may provide a sense of security, loyalty, structure and DISCIPLINE that may be missing at home. Lack of positive influence by/interaction with parents Self-respect/identity Replacement or substitute family Lack of economic opportunity Desire for excitement Lack of alternatives in/out of school Power Friendship/brotherhood Protection/security from gang violence Feeling of belonging/being cared for Media glorification of gang lifestyle Signs of Possible Gang Involvement Large amount of unsupervised time. Poor academic progress at school or skipping school Increased conflict at home. Frequent disciplinary problems at home/school. Frequent contact with police. Drawing graffiti. Drawings/homework with the letters "B" or "C" crossed-out, inverted or used improperly. Using gang hand signs. More… Not associating with long time friends/secretive about new friends/activities. Changing hair or dress styles/having a group of friends with the same styles. Changing normal routines/not coming home after school/staying out late at night. Photographs with others displaying gang signs, weapons or gang-type clothing. Physical signs of being involved in fights/secrecy as to how injuries are received. New-found sense of bravery/bragging that they are too tough to be "messed" with. Using a new nickname. Continued… Demanding privacy. Drinking alcohol/using drugs. Unusual mood swings or patterns of behavior. Sudden, unexplained increase in material possessions. Obsession with a particular color of clothing or desire for a particular logo. Wearing baggy pants and shirts. Numbers, symbols and writing on jeans. Wearing pants with pockets that show gang colors when turned inside-out. Using different-colored shoelaces. Finally…. Wearing clothing with portions of logos coloredover to make them similar to gang logos. Wearing clothing of sports teams that use similar colors or logos of the gang. Wearing colored-bandanas on their head or partially exposed in a pocket Wearing belts with writing/numbers on the portion of the belt that hangs down. Common tattoos: three dots "Mi Vida Loca," tear drops, pachuco cross, words with the #13 or #14 in them, pitch forks, crosses, 5- or 6-point stars, and 5- or 6-point crowns, two masks – one happy/one sad. Examples…. Student Desk Tattoo Tagging Street Signs Images of Gangs Video Games Movies – Dangerous Minds – South Central – Menace To Society – Gridiron Gang – Gangs of York – Green Street Hooligans – The Outsiders Music – Dr. Dre – 50 cent (Blood) – Snoop Dog (Crips) – Biggie – Tupac Television Levels of Gang Involvement Level I – Fantasy – Knows about gangs primarily from newspapers, newscasts, and movies. – May or may not know about “real” gangs. – May or may not know one or more gang members, but does not associate with them. – May or may not like, respect or admire a gang, gang member or the gang lifestyle. – See gang members as “living out a fantasy”. Level II – At-Risk Knows about gangs and gang members first-hand. Occasionally casually associates with gang members. Lives in or near gang areas. May like or admire gangs or gang members as individuals. May like or admire the gang lifestyle, but not participate fully. Level III – Associate Knows and likes gang members firsthand. Regularly associates with gang members. Considers gangs and related activity as normal, acceptable, and admirable. Finds many things in common with gang members. Is thinking seriously about joining a gang. Level IV – Gang Member Is officially a gang member. Associates almost exclusively with gang members to the exclusion of family and former friends. Participates in gang crimes and most other related activities. Is not considered hard-core by fellow gang members or others. Had substantially rejected the authority or value system of family and society. Level V – Hard-Core Gang Member Totally committed to the gang and gang lifestyle. Totally rejects anyone or any value system other than the gang. Is considered hard-core by self, other gang-members and authorities. Will commit any act with the approval of or a demand from the gang. Does not accept any authority other than the gang. Gang Initiation Jump/Beat In Sexed In Blessed In Criminal Acts Tips for Parents Discuss Good Groups vs. Bad Groups Help your child develop positive selfesteem – Support your child’s goals and ideas – Express your feelings and encourage your child to do the same. Try not to judge or criticize your child’s feelings. – Praise your child’s efforts as well as achievements. – Make your child feel like he or she is a part of the family. – Ask for your child’s opinion. Tips for Parents Be a good role model – Don’t abuse alcohol or other drugs. – Honor your word and expect your child to do the same. Tips for Parents Be Involved in your child’s life – Work to build open and on-going communication with your child. – Set aside time for positive family activities. – Encourage your child to spend time studying, working, or participating in sports, hobbies, art, and volunteer groups. – Monitor what your child watches and listens to especially television shows, music, movies, and video games that promote violence. Tips for Parents Teach Good Values and Responsibility – Emphasize strong values including respect for yourself and others and tolerance for differences, and responsibility. – Be consistent about discipline. – Hold your child accountable for his or her behavior. – Teach your child respect for authority. Final Tip for Parents The Three W’s: – Where – What – Who What Schools Can Do Listen to what students have to say about gangs in their area. Establish links with parents, community resources, and police agencies. Could establish a dress code that supports school spirit. Train teachers and staff to recognize gangs and how to properly deal with gang issues. Use PTA to educate. Use art music and drama activities to promote alternatives to gang involvement. Provide an open environment for students’ concerns. Gang Awareness in the Classroom Eliminate your own biases about gangs and educate yourself. Make your class a comfort zone for everyone. Understand the most complex and numerous reasons students join gangs. Most are trying to satisfy a basic need to belong to a group and to “fit in”. Be aware of gang writings, attire, and language in your classroom. Consult with student resource officers, counselors, and principals if you need assistance. Informative Video Resources and References www.ncgangcops.org www.gangsandkids.com www.fairfaxcounty.gov www.ssw.unc.edu www.knowgangs.com www.schoolsecurity.org www.ncjrs.gov Struyk, R. (2006). Gangs in our schools: Identifying gang indicators in our school population. The Clearing House, 80(1), 11-13. National Consortium on Alternatives for Youth at Risk, Inc., Sarasota, Fl. Working together to erase gangs in our schools.