Children and Gangs
How can I tell if my child is in a gang? Be aware of the friends with whom your child associates. What kind of clothing does your child wear? Is a particular color or is a piece of clothing always part of what he or she wears? Does he or she have graffiti on their school book covers?
What should I do if I think my child is in a gang or about to join a gang? What if my child is the victim of gang intimigation? Notify your local law enforcement agency or the Orange County Sheriff's Office, Gang Enforcement Unit at 407-521-2400 and ask that someone speak to you and/or your child. School Resource Officers are also available to assist you.
Are gangs active at schools? In Orange County the School Resource Deputies (SRO's) are trained in dealing with gangs. They are aware of kids who belong to gangs and monitor them closely while they are at school. The SRO's work closely with the Gang Enforcement Unit and the school, so if gang activity is prevalent, it will be immediately addressed and eradicated from the school.
Are gangs mainly comprised of disadvantaged youths? Gang members can come from virtually every socio-economic level in the community. They can be from the homes of the very rich to the homes of the very poor.
Are gangs racially segregated? There are gangs that are comprised of one race exclusively and there are gangs that are integrated. In Orange County, we have gangs that are exclusively Black, exclusively Hispanic, exclusively White and exclusively Asian. We also have racially mixed gangs.
Are gang members armed? What type of weapons do they carry? Gang members are sometimes armed. They carry an assortment of weapons ranging from sticks and baseball bats to firearms.
How do kids join gangs? Kids normally join a street gang by either committing a crime or by being "jumped in." "Jumped in" is an initiation which involves other gang members beating the perspective members as a test of his or her courage and fighting ability.
Why do children join gangs?
Identity or Recognition - Being a part of a gang allows the members to achieve a level of status they feel they cannot achieve outside of the gang's culture.
Protection - Kids join the gang because they live in a gang area and are subject to violence by rival gangs. Kids join in an attempt to obtain safety from this violence.
Fellowship and Brotherhood - The gang functions as an extersion of, or sustitute for, the family and may provide companionship lacking in the home environment.
Intimidation - Some members may be forced into joining by peer groups. Intimidation techniques range from extorting lunch money to physical assault.
Gang Resources and Information