Children and Gangs info Training How to help kids stay out of gangs
Table of Contents Click Below To Go To Section Of Choice or hit enter to continue • Why Learn About Gangs • Gang Fascination • Local Gang Identifiers • Gang Slang • At Risk Kids • Indicators of Gang Involvement • Children Facing Gang Intimidation • Levels of Gang Involvement • Tactics for Dealing With Gang Activity • How Bigs Can Help At Risk Youth • Building a Child’s Resources and Problem Solving Skills • If Big Fears Gang Involvement After Being Matched • Additional Resources
Why Learn About Gangs? • Everyone should learn about gangs. Adults and parents should learn about gangs so they are aware of what is going on around them so they can look for warning signs in the kids they associate with. This also helps them teach correct information when the opportunity is presented. • Even young kids should know what gangs are and that it is something that they want to stay away from. • Girls are just as likely as boys to be involved with a gang. If they don’t get the correct information from a trusted adult, they could receive glorified information from other sources (music, TV, older kids) which could make gang life sound more appealing than it actually is. • Make sure the information given to them is age appropriate. For examples visit http://www.talkwithkids.org/violence.html
Gang Fascination • If a child is starting to show fascination with a gang (see local gang identifiers) then this can be a great opener of talking to a child about it. Ask them why they like these things (Example: Why do you always wear blue, Why is the number 14 on all of your notebooks, why are you writing your words like that?) • This gives you an opportunity to find out who their friends are, where they are getting their influences, and what level of involvement they are. If they are just fascinated by it, help them understand the realities of gang life and that it should not be a lifestyle they choose. • Be patient and give them the opportunity to talk. Let them know you are there for them and won’t judge them. Remember just because they are making a poor choice does not make them a bad person.
Local Gang Identifiers • The next few slides cover local gang identifiers. If a child is showing an obsession with these things then it could indicate gang involvement or gang fascination. • Nationally estimated there are over 960,000 gang members and there are active gangs in all 50 states • Each gang has numbers, letters, colors and sports teams usually associated with them –see individual gangs • Territory listed are common areas for that gang, but they can be found in other areas • Numbers, letters and symbols can be hidden in drawings and things that the child does. • Common ways to hide them are: the points on a crown, roman numerals, switching numbers for letters, on clocks, in corners, or in place of shapes within a drawing
Local Gang Identifiers“Surenos” • Nick Names and Sets: MS 13, Mexican Mafia, Emme (Spanish for M), Avenues (Aves), Crown Latin Kings, • Color –Blue • Number:13 -13th letter of the alphabet is M • Sports Teams: Oakland Raiders, Chicago White Sox and LA Kings • Rival: Nortenos • Territory: The Avenues, 13th and 18th street, Ogden *Surenos are the most confrontational, having rivalries with almost every other gang, including other Sureno sets
Local Gang Identifiers“Nortenos” • Nick Names and Sets: Ene (Spanish for N), American Mafia Gangsters, 6th Street, Northside • Color –Red • Number- 14 -14th letter of the alphabet is N (sometimes written as X4) • Sports Team: New York Yankees • Rivals: Surenos • Territory: 6th street, North Salt Lake,
Local Gang Identifiers “Bloods” • Nick Names and Sets -Piru, 8 Ball, Black Mafia Gansters • Color- Red • Number: 5 • Sports Teams Chicago Bulls, Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Chiefs, Redskins, 49ers, and other Red Teams • Rival: Crips • Territory: 7th street, 55th street, • Will avoid using words with the letter c in them (for Crips) will usually substitute it for a k or s when writing (depending on what sound the c makes in the word)
Local Gang Identifiers “Crips” • Nick Names and Sets: East Side Mafia, Baby Regulators • Color: Blue • Sports Teams: Michigan, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Georgetown, Dallas Cowboys, and other blue teams • Rival: Bloods • Territory: 15th Street, West Side, East Side, Rose Park, • Will avoid writing ck (this is slang for Crip Killer) and replaced with double c in words. They will also add Ks after Bs (slang for blood killer) ex “kick back” would be written as “kicc bkacc”)
Local Gang Identifiers“Straight Edgers” • Nick Names and Sets: SXE, XXX, X • Number: 10 • Sports Team: New York Yankees and Syracuse • Rivals: All other gangs • This started as a movement for kids to abstain from drugs, alcohol and sex, but some members in Utah decided to violently enforce their beliefs on other people. This moved it into a gang classification. A child can consider themselves as a “Straight Edge” and not be participating in violence. Ask questions before assuming that they are involved in gang activity
Gang Slang • 801,213, 310 714: Area Codes of Gang’s Location • 21: 21 Street a Utah Local Gang • 187: A California Penal Code, which stands for homicide • CK, BK, NK, SK, : Crip Killer, Blood Killer, Norteno Killer, Sureno Killer,
At Risk Kids There are several factors that can put a child at risk for gang involvement. These could be things from a poor family environment to a tough neighborhood, to personality clashes with peers. The next few slides cover these more in depth.
At Risk KidsProfile • Personality Profile most likely to join gangs: Angry Loner –The quiet angry type of person is usually socially isolated with few friends. 10-14 years old • Poor relationships with family and friends • Poor School Performance • Trouble with truancy • Lack of alternative activities • Poor problem solving skills • Violence • Avoidance *The more risk factors a child has the more likely they are to join a gang We can help by focusing on where they are struggling
At Risk KidsReasons They Join Gangs • Identity and sense of belonging • Protection Power and Prestige • Not be hurt in own neighborhood • Family was in a gang • Can rise in the ranks • Fulfill basic needs • money • family • cares for them, love them • Fun and excitement
Indicators Of Gang Involvement • Admits they are in a gang • They are hanging around known gang members • Displaying graffiti on folders, desks, shoes, bedroom walls ect. • Drastic change in style-wearing • wearing only one color, and avoiding anything with a certain color on it • wearing one particular number, usually associated in some way in all clothing • slashes in eyebrows • Hair –Shaved Marks representing numbers or symbols • For school they will often hide their gang insignia on the inside of a jacket, in a belt or the bottom of a shoe so they can flash their color or sign on the sly • Jewelry- can have hidden numbers or gang symbols • Developing bad attitude toward authority figures • Violent Mood Swings
Gang Intimidation • Not all kids with risk factors want to join gangs but feel pressures and fears from gangs around them • Fear of facing pressures to join a gang • Friends are members • Family are members • Neighborhood is run by a gang • Fear of being associated with a gang • Scared to go down the wrong streets • Scared to wear the wrong colors • Fear of facing gang pressure in schools – • If gang intimidation is happening at schools immediate action needs to be taken and talk with principal counselor and teacher about the situation and with local gang officer
Levels of Gang Involvement There are three different levels of gang involvement. From least to most involved they are Peripheral, Associate, and Hard Core. Each have their own identifying characteristics and ways to help them. For further explanation on helping members see tactics for dealing with gang members
Levels Of Gang InvolvementPeripheral • Younger kids are known as Peripheral Kids who want to be known as gangsters ages 9-14. • They have not been formally initiated into a gang, but they already have their loyalties to a gang. • They are more underground at school than in the community • They are often called “wanna-bes” but in reality if they stay on their current path they are “gonna-bes” • They are willing to take risks because they want to be known as hard core this can make them the most dangerous as they are proving themselves and their loyalty. • Hard core uses them to do illegal activity • Send them into schools for recruitment • Send them on drug runs • Tactic for helping them: Prevention and Intervention
Levels of Gang InvolvementAssociate • Have been formally initiated • jumped-in-gang: members beat up new members to initiate them often seen as a fight and usually recorded • sexed in: female gang members with have sex with several high ranking gang members to be initiated • Becoming more involved with illegal activity • Want to Move Up in Gang Ranks • Gain Power • Gain Respect • Higher Cut of Money • Tactic for helping them: Intervention
Levels of Gang InvolvementHard Core • Most Likely have been arrested multiple times • Have a high ranking in “brotherhood” • Lead over associates and peripheral • Give the commands to newer members • Heavily into illegal activity • Most likely have been shot at and had friends that have died • Tactic: Suppression THEN intervention
Tactics of Dealing with Gangs Prevention • Building their support system • Helping their self Esteem • Stopping them before they join the gang • Helping them in their risk areas • Getting them involved in alternatives • Hobbies • Sports
Tactics of Dealing with GangsIntervention • Helping them leave the gang • Breaking them of their gang habits • not using gang signs • not using gang slang • not wearing gang colors • Helping them find alternative life-style • Friends • Activities • Hobbies • Support Systems
Tactics of Dealing With GangsSuppression • Removing them from society • Sending them to jail • Moving them to another community
How Can Our Bigs Help Children at risk of joining gangs won’t do so if they have a good support system around them. Our Bigs do a great job of doing that for their “Littles” every day in the small things. The next few slides give some pointers on how they can specifically help at risk kids stay out of gangs
How Can Our Bigs Help? • Consistency is the key to keeping children out of gangs Adults often feel uncomfortable discussing sensitive issues such as gangs and violence with young people. However, it is important that adults talk frankly and openly with youth about these matters. The significance of anti-gang messaging increases when it comes from a person who has invested significant time and energy in building a relationship with the youth • Youth need to hear a consistent message delivered by adults with whom they have an existing relationship. The effectiveness of the discussion is increased by repetition and by continuity in the relationship with the adult.
How Can Our Bigs Help? (cont.) • Build the message by starting at the youth’s level of understanding. What are they aware of? It is important to determine the level at which discussion should begin to avoid alarming young people who may be less aware of gangs or downplaying a more serious issue impacting youth. Adults should listen more than they talk. The more an adult listens to what the youth has to say the more open the discussion will become. • Emphasize the negative effects of gang involvement on youth, their families, friends, schools, and communities. Effects of joining a gang may include increased risk of injury to one’s self or family members/friends, difficulties in school, pressure to commit criminal acts, and consequences of committing criminal acts –imprisonment, lack of future job opportunities, harming others.
How Can Our Bigs Help? (cont.) • Accentuate that their choices matter because their happiness and well-being are important to the people who care about them. Stress to youth that they are responsible for their own choices. Help youth see the relationship between their choices and their circumstances. • Take a strong no tolerance stand against gangs and violence. Youth should not be allowed to glorify gang activity, dress in gang style clothing or use gang related slang or insults during activities. Impress that by doing so they are disrespecting their friends & family and endangering themselves and others. • Remain accessible and involved with youth. Long term caring relationships with supportive adults provide youth with an incentive and a support network to stay out of gangs.
How Can Our Bigs Help? (cont.) • Try to incorporate discussions about positive life choices into everyday conversations. Discussing gangs only once with youth does not seem to have any lasting effect. • Help youth to effectively process the complex and conflicting messages about gangs and violence that they see in movies media music and in the community. • Highlight the youth’s good qualities. Point out positive actions that you observe. Many youth who are already involved in gangs or delinquency receive a lot of negative feedback everyday. Show them their special attributes and skills, and encourage efforts to make good decisions. Be specific with the praise rather than general. • Help them build confidence in school and Academic Performance
Building a Child’s Resources and Problem Solving Skills Children at risk usually need extra help with learning how to solve problems and what resources are available to them. You can help them build these. The next few slides will give examples of how to do so broken out by age category
Building a Child’s Resources and Problem Solving Skills 5-7 Year Olds • Enjoy organized games and are very concerned about following rules. Play games with them that involve figuring things out and being creative • Are very imaginative and involved in fantasy playing. Create fantasy problems and have them use their imagination to figure them out • Are self-assertive, aggressive, boastful, want to be first, and are less cooperative than younger children. Help them see how to cooperate and build healthy friendships. • Learn best through active participation, let them do things hands on instead of lecturing to them
Building a Child’s Resources and Problem Solving Skills 8-10 Year Olds • Can be very competitive. Help them learn what it means to compromise and cooperate. • Being accepted by friends becomes quite important. Help them learn what it means to be a good friend and how to choose good friends • Team games become popular. If they want, help them sign up for a local kids sports teams • Worshipping heroes, TV stars, and sports figures is common. Make sure they are not idolizing the wrong type of people
Building a Child’s Resources and Problem Solving Skills 11-13 Year Olds • Cliques start to develop outside of school. Make sure they are choosing a group of friends that won’t get them in trouble • Friends set the general rule of behavior. If child is acting out find out reasons behind them • Feel a real need to conform. They dress and behave alike in order to “belong.” Make sure they are not emulating dress and actions of local gangs • Are very concerned about what others say and think of them. Help them see that their self esteem is not dependent on other people • Have a tendency to manipulate others (“Mary’s mother says she can go. Why can’t I?”). Don’t give into manipulation and hold firm to boundaries • Interested in earning own money. Help them get a job babysitting or doing a paper route or something suited to their skills and age
Building a Child’s Resources and Problem Solving Skills 14-16 Year Old • Going to extremes, emotional instability. Be supportive of them even when they are having a teen crisis and make sure they know you are there for them not matter what the problem. • “know-it-all” attitude. Don’t solve their problems for them, but give them the tools to help them solve it themselves • Fear of ridicule and of being unpopular. Help them see that good friends are more important than always having the popular friends • Strong identification with an admired adult. Make sure they are admiring the right type of adult
What To Do If Gang Involvement is Feared If you are matched with a child that is showing some warning signs of being involved with a gang that doesn’t mean all is lost. If they are involved with a gang they need you now more than ever to be an example and a resource for the We have steps in place to help you talk with them and and still support them
What To Do If Gang Involvement is Feared • How To Talk To Them: • Ask Questions –Not Yes and No questions, make them open-ended • Be Patient –Don’t Pressure, allow time, don’t interrupt • Listen Totally –Listen with your whole body • Be Aware- Look for hints that they are opening up to you totally • Seek Approval- Echo • Do not use gang nick-names
What To Do if Gang Involvement is Feared • Your Match Support Specialist will help asses risk of meeting with Little based on level of child’s gang involvement • Child’s Relationship with Volunteer • Child’s level of aggression • Child’s neighborhood • Friends constantly hanging out with child • Even if meeting in person is not possible we still encourage you to maintain some form of contact • Letters • Phone • E-mail • Stay focused on their strengths and viewing them as an individual • The Match Support Specialist, Big, and parent should work together to help Little get involved in an intervention program
Additional Resources • Your Match Support Specialist • Project 180 –Gang Intervention Kenny Dorrell firstname.lastname@example.org, 801-654-0446 • Talking with Kids about violence http://www.talkwithkids.org/violence.html • G.R.E.A.T. Program www.great-online.org • National Crime Prevention Council: Teens, Crime, and the Community www.ncpc.org/tcc • National Gang Center www.irr.com/nygc • Latin American Youth Center www.layc-dc.org • National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center www.safeyou.org