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NCJ Number
Date Published
27 pages
With the intent of providing a foundation for juvenile gang prevention efforts, this booklet presents general information about gangs and how to identify them, suggestions for community gang-prevention activities, and excerpts from newly enacted California laws designed to aid police officers in the targeting of gangs.
After noting that criminal gangs are prevalent in California, particularly in Los Angeles County, the booklet defines a criminal gang and outlines ways to identify gang members through their graffiti, clothing, jewelry, and weapons. A review of gang criminal activity encompasses violent confrontations with gang rivals that often injure or kill innocent persons, drive-by shootings, drug trafficking, extortion, robberies, hate crimes, vehicle thefts, vandalism, and other crimes for financial gain. One section addresses the dangerousness of graffiti as a challenge to rival gangs that breeds violence. A chapter on signs of a juvenile's involvement in gang activities lists drug use, a decline in school grades, truancy, a change of friends, late hours outside the home, and having large sums of money or expensive items that cannot be explained. Reasons why a juvenile might join a gang are also discussed. Suggestions for preventing gang involvement and gang criminal activities are outlined under the areas of what people can do individually and in cooperation with neighbors, communitywide solutions, and statewide solutions (anti-gang legislation). The latter section reviews California laws designed to counter the criminal activities of gangs. A list of resources and a glossary of gang terms