Many parents fear their child or children may start hanging out with the wrong kind of people. In some cases, the “wrong kind of people” may be an organized gang, cult or organization that is involved in criminal activity and/or drug use. As a parent, it is important to be involved in the lives of your children and constantly keep an eye on their circle of friends.
List of Gang Involvement Warning Signs
There are a number of things you can watch for to know if your child is involved with a gang.
Be on the lookout for the following signs that your child may be involved in a gang, cult or other type of criminal organization:
- If you notice abrupt changes in your child’s selection of friends could be a sign that they are in a gang
- Look for changing patterns in the way they dress, such as wearing the same color combination of clothes all the time. This could represent that they are following a prescribed dress code.
- Notice any gang symbols on books, folders, clothing, computers, or other personal equipment
- Pay attention to any secretiveness about activities and plans which may suggest they are hiding something
- Possessing unexplained, relatively large sums of money or other items that may have been stolen
- Keep an eye out for any sudden changes in behavior, including a diminishing interest in the family and school
- Staying away from the house or staying out late without good reason
- Problems with school officials or other authority figures (coaches, trainers, tutors, etc.)
- Problems with the police. These issues usually start out as minor infractions, such as traffic violations or misdemeanor arrests. If the trend continues, the arrest often escalate to felony charges.
Actions You Can Take
If you notice these patterns of gang involvement, get help immediately. Start out by contacting the counselor at your child’s school. Then reach out tot eh gang crimes unit of your local police department. They may be able to help you find counseling and tell you how to help your child get out of the gang.
Talk to other parents or neighbors to see if they have similar concerns. These types of discussions may lead to the pooling of resources and may help you learn of support groups or other types of organization that offer help in your area.
In addition, it may be helpful to educate yourself by reading books and read website articles that provide more information on the subject. Following are some suggested resources:
One of the most comprehensive websites on gangs, gang-related news, discussion forums, and more is www.streetgangs.com. It serves as a helpful reference for identifying members. Also, check out www.gangresearch.net for books, articles and videos.
If you have any questions about these gang involvement warning signs, please post below.
Gang Investigation Books: Learn About Life on the Inside of America’s Gangs
A gang is a group of people who, through the organization, formation, and establishment of an assemblage, share a common identity. In current terms, the word gang typically denotes a criminal organization or a criminal affiliation. The word gang often carries a negative connotation due to the violence and criminal activity usually associated with gang members.
Why Do Private Eyes Need to Know About These Organizations?
Private investigators are sometimes hired to infiltrate gangs to conduct covert investigations involving cliques. For example, a parent might hire a private investigator to determine if their child has become involved in illegal and dangerous activity. In other situations, private investigators may have to interview crew members to get information about a crime or a subject. Having an understanding of gang life, how squads, tribes, teams and cliques are formed and structured will be helpful to private detectives.
Following are books that provide more information on gang investigations.
Under and Alone: The True Story of the Undercover Agent Who Infiltrated America’s Most Violent Outlaw Motorcycle Gang – A book that provides a detailed account of a law enforcement agent who infiltrated a violent motorcycle gang. The agent assumed the role of a biker named “Billy St. John” and spent 28-months in an undercover operation. During his investigation, he gathered evidence of homicide, weapons and drug violations. At first the crew suspected that he was a cop and he was forced to prove himself a number of times. The book reads like a movie and provides a fascinating look into the life of sadistic and criminal biker gangs.
Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member
An account of a Los Angeles gangbanger who was inducted into the Crips at age 11. Get a look inside the Crips and learn how their mindset keeps them in a constant state of war.
Gang Investigations: A Street Cop’s Guide
This guide provides information on gangbanger identification, arrest, search and seizure, prosecution, and anti-gang measure. Learn how to deal with the modern street thugs and survive on the streets as a law enforcement officer.
Gangs Across America And Their Symbols (Pocket Guides
A guide to understanding gangs. Includes such topics as:
- Gang affiliation breakdowns
- Affiliated nations’ color schemes meanings
- interpretations of graffiti and insignia
- hand signs, slang translations and tattoo meanings
The book covers such interesting topics as: street, ethnic, occult, outlaw motorcycle, hate groups, prison groups and more.
Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.
A memoir that documents a youth’s time as an East Los Angeles gang member. Describes such events as shootings, Mexican funerals, rapes and arrests.
Inside the Crips: Life Inside L.A.’s Most Notorious Gang
A memoir of a clique member that provides an inside look into the life of gang members. Learn what daily life looks like from the inside of a criminal organization.
Buy Gang Investigations books at Amazon.com.