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
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
themselves by a particular name, whether the name is a
local street, a local neighborhood, or the Bloods, Piru
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.
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,
female gangs, gang clothing, colors, graffiti,
hand signs, signs and symbols, tattoos, gang rivalries, and alliances.
Why is it important for individuals to
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,
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.