Gangs and gang crime

What to look for

Once you are aware of the structures, behaviours, brands and symbols of gangs, you can look for these signs both at home and away from home.

At home

Questions you can ask yourself include:

  • Friends – Do you know them? Do you know their families? Where do they live? Do they concern you? Do they have tattoos or expensive clothes? Are they open to meeting family? Are they respectful?

  • Socialising – Where do they hang out? How do they spend their free time?

  • Social media – Do you know their social media names? Do you know their mobile phone habits? How many phones do they have? Do you have their numbers? Can you 'follow' them on social media? Do you know what they're posting?

  • Obsessions – Are they obsessed with gang culture? Do they want specific clothing, colours or brands?

  • Their look – Do you think they look like a gang member? What does a gang member look like?

  • Bank accounts – Is money coming in and going out that is unaccounted for?

  • Surroundings – Respect their privacy but take note of surroundings – do you know what's in their room? Do you know how many knives are in your kitchen?

Away from home

Questions you can ask yourself include:

  • Friends – Do you know them? Are they gang members or are their gang concerns with them?

  • Social Media – Are you worried by what they are posting and what photos are they showing on social media?

  • Attendance slipping – Are they attending appointments, school or college?

  • Tagging and graffiti – Are they tagging school books, desks, their school bags with symbols or letters, postcodes, street names?

  • Street names – Are others referring to them as another name, are they referring to others by street names?

  • Family – are you in contact with family? Are they aware of concerns or are they oblivious? Are they worried? What else can they add to your concerns? Do they need support?

If your gut feeling is that something isn't right, don't sit on concerns – share them with others.

Be aware

By staying aware you can:

  • spot the signals – look for the silent signs
  • share concerns and get help – it's safeguarding

Remember, not all kids who hang around in groups are in gangs.

You can find more information on gangs and gang culture at:

Get online – times move quick, so keep up to date with what's going on.