How do I know if my child is involved in gangs?

There are some common warning signs that a youth may be involved in gangs.   In most cases, a youth who shows two or more of these signs may indicate they are involved, or very vulnerable, to gangs.

  • Admits to spending time with kids in gangs.
  • Shows unusual interest in particular colors or logos (these depends on the city – check with law enforcement or school officials to know what is common in your areas)
  • Interested in gangster music, videos, movies or websites
  • Uses hand signals to communicate with friends
  • Has specific drawings or symbols on books, walls, clothes
  • Has unexplained physical injuries (looks like they have been in fist fights)
  • Has unexplained cash, jewelry, clothing
  • Uses gang-style slang
  • Exhibits negative changes in behavior such as:
    • Withdrawing from family
    • Declining school attendance, performance or behavior
    • Staying out late with no reason
    • Being unusually secretive
    • Exhibits signs of drug use

If you are worried your child is involved get help!  Contact the school, police department, church or an organization in the community.   Click on resources to find this help in your county.

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