Each year the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice receives inquiries from concerned parents and communities on youth gang activities and teenage behavioral health issues. We hope the provided Q&A is informative.
Question: I am confused about all the car break-ins and home burglaries in my community. Could these crimes be a form of gang activity?
Answer: Criminal street gangs often commit crimes, including entering automobiles and burglary. If you witness a crime or suspect gang activity within your community, call your local police department. Additionally, you can contact Crime Stoppers, a national organization with a network of local programs working together to prevent and solve crimes in communities. You can reach Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
Question: I've noticed that when my son is with his friends, they sometimes use hand gestures to communicate. Could he be affiliated with a gang?
Answer: Yes, gangs often use hand signs to communicate or show their association. Other signs of gang membership include many different identifiers, including names, symbols, tattoos, graffiti, or clothing. The National Gang Center offers a "Parents' Guide to Gangs" with answers to common questions about gangs to enable you to recognize and prevent gang involvement. Visit them at nationalgangcenter.ojp.gov.
The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice is a multi-faceted agency that serves the state's justice-involved youth up to 21 years of age. The Department's mission is to transform young lives by providing evidence-based rehabilitative treatment services and supervision, strengthening youth and families' wellbeing, and fostering safe communities. Visit us online at www.djj.georgia.gov.