GANG WATCH (continued)
HOW TO IDENTIFY GANG MEMBERS
1) Gang members generally have a nickname that highlights their real or imagined physical, personal or psychological trait.
2) Gang members normally project an arrogant and defiant attitude in an attempt to intimidate others ( especially in the presence of other gang members.
3) Gangs use graffiti to identify themselves and their territory and to communicate messages. This is also called tagging.
4) Gang graffiti may indicate the gang’s name, the members nickname, a declaration of loyalty, a memorial to a slain gang member, threats, challenges, and warnings to rival gangs.
5) Gang graffiti is most commonly found on neighborhood walls, fences and mailboxes. Gang graffiti may also be found on clothing, athletic shoes, notebooks, and bedroom walls.
6) The color and style of clothing sometimes serve to identify each individual gang.
7) Weapons most associated with gang members include knives, handguns, sawed-off shotguns and semi-automatic firearms such as an Uzi, AK-47, or MAC 10.
8) Other signs that youngsters have joined gangs are cigarette burns on their hands, fingernails painted a certain color, or gang colored shoelaces in their athletic shoes.
9) Body tattoos can also indicate gang affiliation or geographic origin.
WHAT GANGS DO
* Many gangs spend their time in the same activities as everyone else except for one important difference: they are involved in criminal and/ or violent activity
* Gangs use violence and intimidation to enhance their reputation and notoriety.
* There are different levels of gang activity, ranging from “criminal street gang” activity to the delinquent behaviors of juveniles.
WHY GANG GRAFFITI IS DANGEROUS
Gangs purposely vandalize and destroy public and private property in order to further their reputation, and leave their trademark behind – graffiti.
* Abandoned houses and buildings are a favorite target for graffiti.
* When a neighborhood is marked with a gang’s graffiti, the entire area and its inhabitants become potential targets for violence.
GANG MEMBERS HAVE BLEAK FUTURES
*Gang members usually socialize only with other gang members, reinforcing their limited view on life.
* They often drop out of school.
* They frequently establish a lifelong pattern of involvement with the criminal justice system.
* They may be killed or injured.
* They may place an entire household of family members at risk.
* The gang members that do make it to adulthood often become dependent on alcohol or drugs.
* For some, the gang lifestyle is passed down as a family tradition leading to generational gangs.
(CONTINUED NEXT WEEK)