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Who Do You Call about Gangs?

Today many parents have questions about gangs. There are many reasons why parents are so preoccupied with gangs. Maybe you have noticed gang activity where you live and suspect that your son or daughter is involved in gangs. Perhaps you believe gang members are harassing your child. Your son or daughter may have been a victim of gang violence. You have noticed gang graffiti in your neighborhood and have begun to worry.

You can do many things:

Maintain open communication with your child. Get in the habit of discussing problems with your child and his or her friends. Look for opportunities to show your child how important he or she is to you. Regularly spend time with your child. Take time to know your child’s friends. Know where your child is going and with whom. Provide reasonable limits and enforce them. Provide discipline that is fair, appropriate and timely.

Investigate activities available for your child and his or her friends - sports, art, dance, theater, music, cooking, swimming, camping, scouting. If you don’t find the activities, start them yourself. Be a good role model. Educate yourself on issues important to young people.

As soon as you observe graffiti in your neighborhood, remove it immediately. Paint over it; don’t allow it to spread.

Get your extended family members involved. Include neighbors, church members, local business people, and parents at school. Encourage mentoring, sponsorship of youth groups, donation of money, space and goods to support youth activities.

Ask local businesses not to sell items clearly associated with gangs.

Call your local police to find out which gangs are active in your neighborhood.

When you see gang activity, inform the police.

Notify your alderman, state representative, senator, and congressperson. (Check your phone book or inquire at your local library if you need to know who these people are).

Use community resources: individual and family counseling, support groups. There are many organizations that help families deal with this problem.

Discuss concerns with the social worker and/or counselor at school.

Talk with your clergyman.

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