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A Parent's Quick Reference Card: Recognizing and Preventing Gang Involvement

NCJ Number
Date Published
2 pages
This quick reference guide provides common warning signs or indicators of youth gang involvement and what parents can do to prevent gang involvement.
Examples of warning signs that parents should be aware of that their child may be involved with a gang include: (1) admits to "hanging out" with kids in gangs; (2) has unusual interest in gangster-influenced music, videos, movies, or Web sites; (3) has specific drawings or gang symbols on school books, clothes, walls, or tattoos; (4) has unexplained cash or goods, such as clothing or jewelry; (5) carries a weapon; and (6) exhibits negative changes in behavior, such as withdrawing from family, staying out late without reason, exhibiting signs of drug use, breaking rules consistently, and speaking gang-style slang. Examples of preventative measures parents can take when suspecting gang involvement include: (1) spending quality time with your child; (2) being a positive role model and setting the right example; (3) encouraging good study habits; (4) helping your child develop good conflict/resolution skills; (5) taking action in your neighborhood; and (6) talking with your child about the dangers and consequences of gang involvement. Parents are encouraged to look for multiple signs to indicate possible gang involvement because some of these indicators alone are also common among youth not involved in gangs. This reference guide offers parents the common warning signs of gang involvement.

Date Published: January 1, 2015