How can I tell?
All children are at risk to be recruited to join a gang, or are subject to being victimized by gang violence. Early warning signs that something is wrong include changes in a young person's behavior and attitudes. Other pre-gang and gang behavior include:
- Withdrawal from participation in school, family life, church or other activities, compared to earlier behavior.
- Changes in dress and color preferences.
- Habitual lying and denial of problematic behavior.
- Major attitude problems with parents, teachers or those in authority.
- Changes in language, including use of gang slang and profanity, and use of hand signs.
- Displays money and property that are beyond child's income, and is evasive about where the items came from.
- Use of drugs and/or alcohol.
- New friends, possibly fewer friends, that have a negative influence.
- School grades drop, truancies increase and discipline problems become more frequent.
- Appearance of different looking graffiti and gang related writing on school books, clothing and other personal items.
- Carrying or possessing weapons, such as a gun, knife, screwdriver, bat or club. Unable to identify the owners of these weapons.
- Gang-related tattoos (initials, names, numbers), burn marks in a pattern, or use of markers to make temporary tattoos on hands, arms, legs, and other parts of the body.
If you have a question or concern about gang activity in Kosciusko County, contact Officer Mike Cox at the Warsaw Police Department, 574-372-9534 X-325.