How Can Parents Help Curb Gang Activity?
What is a gang?
According to the National Youth Gang Center a
gang is a self-formed group of people who have the following
characteristics: three or more members, generally ages 12 to 24; a
gang name and some sense of identity, generally shown by such
symbols as clothing, graffiti, and hand signs; some form of
allegiance for a common purpose; and engaged in delinquent or
How do gangs function?
Gangs thrive on violence, intimidation, and
notoriety for their actions. Members seek confrontations with
rivals resulting in drive-by shootings, the sale of drug,
robberies, motor vehicle theft, vandalism, or other criminal
activity for money and recognition. As a result, many innocent
victims suffer loss of lives or other potential threat.
What are the consequences of gang membership?
Gang membership has a terrible effect on the
lives of all who are in contact with the member. Families of gang
members are concerned about their own safety as well as that of
the son or daughter who is a gang member. Education and friends
who are not gang members are cast aside. And, members who are not
killed or wounded end up as school dropouts with a drug problem
and police record that limit future employment opportunities.
What can you do to curb gang activity?
According to the Houston Police Gang Unit,
parents can do a lot to keep their children from joining gangs.
Get Involved. Become aware of what’s going on in your child’s
school, neighborhood and community.
If you have a neighborhood association, get them involved to
watch the gang crime patterns.
Learn about gangs and signs of gang activity.
Report incidents such as vandalism, loitering, and drug
activity to the police.
Report all graffiti in your neighborhood to the police.
Be alert to non-verbal communication signs. Graffiti writing
on notebooks, books, papers, sidewalks, fences, stores, walls,
etc. is a territorial marker to gang members and a way to
advertise the gang’s power. Report graffiti.
Be involved in your child’s life. Be aware of changes such as
dress changes, tattoos, selection of friends, truancy,
violence, and disregard for persons or property.
Find out if your child has purchased new and expensive items
or if your child has extra money that can’t be accounted for.
Look for signs of possible gang involvement:
•Poor school and/or work attendance
•No participation in family activities
•Use of slang vocabulary
•Associating with undesirable people
•Staying out later than usual
•Desiring too much privacy
•Starting to drink or use drugs
•Receiving money or articles without
parental permission or awareness
•Unusual moods or patterns of behavior.
Changes in behavior and dress can be a normal
part of growing up or a sign of inappropriate identification and
association. Know the difference by being an involved parent.
What can you do to keep your child from joining
If you believe your child might be exposed or
attracted to a gang…
Talk and listen to your child. Explain the dangers and
consequences of being a member of a gang.
Let him/her know that you care. Praise your child and
encourage him/her to do his/her very best.
Express your disapproval of gangs and that you do not want
Find out who your child’s friends are and discourage him/her
from hanging around gang members.
Tell your child that peer gang pressure means that he/she is
letting someone else make decisions for him/her. It makes
him/her dependent rather than an independent thinker.
Encourage him/her to make new friends that are not gang
members; provide new experiences or activities outside the
community to expose him/her to new friendships.
Involve your child in supervised, positive group activities in
school, in church, in the community. Give him/her
responsibilities at home.
Do not allow your child to write or practice writing gang
names, symbols, or any other gang graffiti on books, papers,
clothes, bodies, walls or any other place.
Let him/her know that you will help with whatever problem
Express the importance of education and help your child do
his/her best in school.
Spend time with your child. Plan activities that the whole
family can enjoy.
Set limits for your child. Let him/her know what is acceptable
and unacceptable behavior.
Be a good example and model the expected behavior.
Teach your child to respect others’ property.
Know what your child is doing and with whom. Ask
questions----Who?, Where?, When?, Why?, How? And follow up
with your child’s activities to verify information.
Seek help from community services that help prevent gang
Gangs in Schools
National Youth Gang Center
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Humble ISD Police
1703 Wilson Road
Humble, Texas 77338
Telephone: 281-641-7900 Fax:
Police Chief: Solomon