Gangs and gang crime


The behaviour of young people can change when they become involved with a gang.

Behaviour at home

at home, behaviour changes can mean:

  • withdrawing from family
  • secretive behaviour
  • aggression
  • unexplained injuries
  • loss of interest in hobbies and normal routines
  • breaking family rules and pushing boundaries
  • new friends
  • increase in incoming phone calls
  • being picked up in unknown cars or taxis
  • absconding from home, going 'missing'
  • unaccounted for cash, new clothing or a new phone
  • unaccounted for money coming in or going out of their bank account
  • knives going missing from the kitchen
  • carrying or concealing weapons
  • carrying or concealing drugs

Behaviour at school

At school, behaviour changes can mean:

  • withdrawing from school
  • loss of interest
  • no longer attending school clubs
  • a breakdown of friendships
  • aggression
  • unexplained injuries
  • breaking school rules
  • pushing boundaries
  • lack of respect
  • truanting or long term absences
  • expensive items of clothing, footwear, electrical goods, jewellery, watches
  • being dropped off at school in unknown cars or taxis
  • being approached outside of school by unknown people

Behaviour with professionals who work with young people

Around professionals, behaviour changes can mean:

  • secretive behaviour
  • not being open
  • a change in your professional relationship
  • being withdrawn
  • aggression
  • unexplained injuries
  • not attending meetings or appointments
  • concerns being raised by parents, carers, teachers, social workers, youth workers
  • being taken to appointments by unknown people
  • arriving in taxis or unknown cars
  • new mobile phones and not providing the number
  • receiving calls throughout their sessions and wanting to leave quickly
  • a careless, reckless attitude
  • carrying weapons or things that can be used as weapons
  • expensive items of clothing, footwear, electrical goods, jewellery, watches
  • change in friends
  • association with other gang members
  • tattoos

Know the signs

In general, signs can be:

  • persistently missing from school or home, being found out of the area
  • unexplained money, clothes or mobile phones
  • excessive receipt of phone calls and texts
  • relationships with controlling or older individuals, having gang association
  • leaving home or care without explanation
  • suspicion of self-harm, physical assaults or unexplained injuries
  • significant changes in emotional wellbeing
  • significant decline in school performance