Gang Prevention Tips from Newark Police

Authorities offer tips on how to know if your child is involved with gangs.

From Newark Police

Parents often lack factual information about gangs. Many gang members have become knowledgeable about the law and, as a result, have minimized their visibility.

In the past, there was a high level of pride associated with the display of gang symbols (i.e., style of clothing, tattoos, hand signs), but today it is no longer easy to identify a gang member.

As a result, a growing number of youth are being recruited into gangs without the awareness of parents, teachers, law enforcement officers or community members.

While no single sign is proof that a teen is in a gang, the risk factors increases with each additional indicator your child exhibits as listed below:

  • Truancy
  • Decline in grades
  • Change of friends
  • Keeping late hours
  • Alcohol and other drug use
  • Having large sums of money or expensive items that cannot be explained
  • Developing attitude problems with parents, teachers, or others in authority
  • Intensifying anger
  • Sudden hatred for another group
  • Glamorizing gangs
  • Wearing gang clothing or an importance placed on certain colors
  • Withdrawing from the family
  • Secretive or abrupt changes in behavior
  • Abrupt changes in music tastes, clothing styles
  • Presence of body modifications, including tattoos, scarring, burns and brands.
  • Presence of gang graffiti in bedroom or on books, clothing, shoes, or posters
  • Using hand signs to communicate with other gang members, siblings, teachers, and parents
  • Displaying photos showing gang names, slogans, insignia, hand signals, or people involved in gang activities
  • Using gang-style language
  • Participating in gang activities
  • Associating with known gang members

What You Can Do About Gang Involvement

Parents are an important factor in preventing high-risk behavior like gang involvement in youth. Below are some tips to help parents keep their children away from gang activity.

  1. Talk to your teen about high-risk behavior with gangs and drugs
  2. Monitor your teen and set clear rules
  3. Identify risk factors for delinquent behavior, violence and gang involvement
  4. Recognize warning signs indicating your teen may already be involved
  5. If your teen is involved with a gang - ACT QUICKLY
  6. Get involved in your child’s life
  7. Get involved in your community
  8. Let your child know you love and care about him or her

There are some simple steps parents can take to keep track of their child’s activities. Of course, their child might not like them keeping tabs on where he or she is and what he or she is doing. It won’t be a democracy and it shouldn’t be, according to many parenting experts. In the end, it’s not pestering, it’s parenting.

  1. Set rules
  2. Praise and reward
  3. Know where your teen is and what he or she will be doing
  4. Talk to your teen
  5. Keep them busy - especially between 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., when the majority of juvenile delinquency is committed
  6. Check on your teenager
  7. Establish a “core values statement” for your family. Establish a clear family position on drugs and repeat it often
  8. Be a good example
  9. Spend time together
  10. Take time to learn the facts about drugs and alcohol
  11. Get to know your teen’s friends (and their parents)
  12. Stay in touch with your child’s adult supervisors

Bottom line: “Get involved with your child’s life. Show them you care and DO NOT tolerate criminal behavior!”


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Nadja Adolf August 04, 2012 at 02:12 AM
As awful as it sounds, those are pretty strong indicators of gang activity. Clothing, gangster music, glamorizing gangs, colors, hand signs, money and goodies, and group hatred are probably the strongest indicators in my personal opinion. Declining grades, drugs, and truancy can just be slacker behavior, which is problematic for the individual involved but usually not violent. If it has gotten to body modifications and hanging out with gang members the kid is full bore into it, and time to have a chat on the virtues of being permanently grounded until age 18. Of course, the strongest indicator or potential for gang involvement, regardless of ethnicity, is being born to an unwed mother and growing up in an unwed household.
Nadja Adolf August 04, 2012 at 02:17 AM
Ethnicity matters less than being raised by an unwed mother. White folks are catching up with Blacks and Latinos in gang involvement as the white illegitimacy rate is now somewhere between 24%-30%. Feminists lied, sociologists have made the point of the correlation of single mothers and violent delinquency and barred from publishing because of "racism" - but now that the white rate is going up it is PC to call attention to the fire of social collapese now that it has gone from a minor blaze to burning down cities.
Nadja Adolf August 04, 2012 at 02:27 AM
As a reproductive strategy, having multiple baby mothers and allowing the taxpayers to support them is highly effective. The taxpayers, burdened with supporting other's children and unwilling to raise children they feel they cannot support have smaller families, while the unloving street thug may have twenty or even thirty children by their baby mamas. I often hear nonsense after some street thug is killed about how he really loved his children by some baby mama. The reality is he loved his children and baby mama only when it wasn't inconvenient to him - which is no love at all.
J. Conseco August 04, 2012 at 12:20 PM
I heard Edward James Olmos is directing and starring in an upcoming movie about Newarks gangs!
Lisa Cisneros August 08, 2012 at 09:43 AM
Nadja, I've always thought your comments were well thought out until now. As a single mother, your comments disgusted me. Our kids learn by example and two parents are just as capable of being bad examples. My son is 16, involved in high school athletics, maintains a 3.8 GPA (or higher), is the youngest active member of Newark's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and consistently volunteers over 50 hours a year. I almost forgot, he's half Mexican.


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