You should be concerned if your child:

  • admits to gang involvement is obsessed with one particular color of clothing or shows a desire for a particular logo over and over;

  • wears sagging pants (this in and of itself is not indicative of gang activity);

  • wears excessive jewelry with distinctive designs and may wear it only on either the right or left side of the body;

  • is obsessed with gangster-influenced music, videos and movies to the point of imitation;

  • withdraws from family with an accompanying change in demeanor;

  • associates with undesirable and breaks parental rules consistently;

  • develops an unusual desire for privacy and secrecy and may completely rearrange living quarters to create privacy;

  • uses hand signs while with friends and practices them at home;

  • Or there is evidence of the appearance of:

    • physical injury (such as being beaten) and then child lies about the events surrounding the injury:

    • peculiar drawings or language on school books (may appear later as tattoos or brands);

    • unexplained cash or goods, i.e., clothing or jewelry;

    • possible use of alcohol and drugs with attitude change.


Associate with any gang members or “wannabe/gonnabe” gang members; identify or communicate with gangs;hang out near or where gangs congregate; approach strangers in cars who appear to want information or directions; wear gang related clothing where gangs are known to gather or traverse;wear initialed clothing such as BK – British Knights – a/k/a “Blood Killer” in high crime areas; use words like “crab” or “slob” (localized lingo may develop) anywhere gangs may be; i.e. malls, sporting events, etc.; attend any party or social event sponsored by gangs or their associates; take part in any graffiti activity or hang around where graffiti is present; or use any kind of finger or sign language in a public place.


  • Impress upon your child the importance of school and good grades

  • Spend quality time with your children

  • Get involved in your child’s school activities

  • Establish rules, set limits and be consistent, firm and fair in punishment

  • Encourage good study habits

  • Respect your child’s feelings and attitudes and help them develop self-esteem

  • Watch closely for negative influences

  • Improve your own self-esteem so your children can model themselves after the most important “role model” YOU.


  • Help children develop self control

  • Help children deal appropriately with problems

  • Get involved in community oriented prevention and intervention programs. Urge others to become involved. Volunteer at your child’s school. Gangs are a community problem and their influence does not stop at any particular boundary.

  • Listen to your children. Communicate with them about their concerns and fears.