Where do we find gangs?

Odds are that there are criminal street gangs in your urban or rural community, your schools, and your work places.   Your jails and prisons almost certainly have prison gangs and probably street gang members who have been incarcerated and  have not yet joined a prison gang. Also, gangs are becoming a problem within our armed forces and they are receiving military training.  And finally, perhaps, parents have gang members living in their own home and do not recognize the problem. 

The pictures below illustrate the problem in our schools.

On the left, an outdoor bench on the campus of a middle school

On the right, a school desk




 I suggest that you eliminate this term from your vocabulary

“We don't have gangs in our community” is a phrase that is too often uttered by the city fathers, the police, the chamber of commerce or the tourist bureau in many communities. This is often followed by, "All we have are a bunch of wannabes."  By calling gangs and gang members "wannabes", a community is telling its citizens that it has nothing to worry about. 

The inference here is that since the gangs in your community  didn't originate in Los Angeles or Chicago, they are not the dangerous gangs of New York, the Chicago street gangs or the Los Angeles street gangs - therefore, they aren't real gangs. Nothing could be further from the truth. If a group of youths in your community have banned together and call themselves by a particular name, whether the name is a local street, a local neighborhood, or the Bloods, Piru Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, Mara Salvatrucha, or Gangster Disciples, and if they use signs, symbols and or colors; and if they are committing crimes; they are a gang regardless of what members of the community say.

Gang Identification

It is also easy to understand how parents fail to recognize the gang identifiers, such as graffiti, signs and symbols, tattoos, or particular styles of clothing, worn or used by their son or daughter. How does this happen?  They simply do not take the time to become aware.

Gangs OR Us offers complete gang identification information and training for law enforcement, corrections, Corporate America and educators.  We also offer community awareness programs to interested citizen groups and other organizations.  Topics offered might include information about street gangs, prison gangs, female gangs, gang clothing, colors, graffiti, hand signs, signs and symbols, tattoos, gang rivalries, and alliances.

Why is it important for individuals to become aware?

It is extremely important to realize and understand that not everyone who wears a particular color, or who has a tattoo, is a gang member.  Bloods wear red, Crips wear blue.  There are thousands of gangs in the U.S. and most identify with one or more colors of every description. Today's youth, just like the youth of past generations, like to be "faddish."  To some, wearing colors and sagging pants is simply cool.  Extremely foolish..........but cool.

Gangs OR Us is proud to be sponsored by

PoliceOne.com - The one complete resource for Law Enforcement online.

You are also invited to visit the

PoliceOne.com Gang Page

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Robert Walker

This page was last updated on 03/13/2014

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