Every large urban school district is affected by street gang activity; however, youth gangs are not simply a large city or inner city problem. Nor are they a problem of particular race or culture. Gang membership crosses all ethnic, racial and geographic boundaries.
No single warning sign indicates that a child is behaving in a manner that potentially places the youth at risk of gang involvement.
What is a gang?
A youth/street gang should be defined as a closely (or loosely) structured group of individuals who may express their identification by adopting certain dress attire, adoption of symbolic behavior to include nicknames of individuals, tattoos, hand signs, and the claiming of territory in a neighborhood. The activities of this group include criminal acts of violence, threats, and anti-social behavior.
A youth/street gang may be small or large in membership, with subdivisions determined many times by location of the gang or ages of the members. (Sometimes smaller gangs will be called “sets”, “cliques”, “posse”, or “crews”.)
Authored by: Det. G. “Sandy” Sandoval (Retired)