What gangs do
Much of their time is spent on planning or engaging in criminal activity. When they get together, there is potential for violent crime. The violence is indiscriminate, unpredictable and can claim innocent victims.
Criminal activity can include but is not limited to:
Break and Enters
Robbery, including Home Invasions
Weapons Offences (which can include bats, guns, knives and machetes)
How to identify street gang members
With the exception of traditional street gang tattoos, there are few, if any, single indicators which can be taken as airtight guarantees that a particular young person is involved in street gang activity. The following list can serve as a guide. However, if several of these become observable, they should serve a s a red flag, and professional intervention may be sought.
- Extreme loyalty/exclusivity to core group of friends.
- Secretiveness/defensiveness about activities with friends.
- Disengagement from family.
- Loss of interest in normal activities and interests.
- Delinquency issues: problems with school, police, etc.
- Out of control behaviour: curfew, runaway, defiant.
- Use of new and unfamiliar slang.
- Dress: choice in wearing only one colour all the time.
- Tattoos/Drawing on self or clothing.
- Graffiti on clothing/notebooks/baseball caps/bedroom walls and furniture.
- Sudden appearance of unexplained money/possessions.
Flashing hand signs (hand gestures) to friends (or even when alone).
- Use of new nickname, referring to friends by nickname.
New interest in "Gangsta" lifestyle, including style of dress, music, movies, literature, etc.
- Initial onset of drug and alcohol use, or increased usage, is often seen in conjunction with street gang involvement.
You can get involved by simply reporting illegal activities you may see. Contact the Hamilton Police Service at 905-546-4925, Crime Stoppers at 905-522-TIPS or the graffiti hotline at 905-546-4723. Help give the message that street gangs will NOT be tolerated in your community.