First and foremost, do not confront a gang member or "suspected" gang member. Notify local law enforcement officers and let them do their job.
What is a “gang?” A gang is a group of two or more individuals who join together and engage in disrespectful, irresponsible and often criminal and/or violent behavior toward others.
Every city and county has its own gang problems with all areas impacted in some way. Gang members do not remain in only one part of a town or one part of the county.
Today, there is no such thing as a “warning” given by gang members to one of their targeted victims, since the goal now is to ensure the person is seriously harmed or mortally injured.
The risk of being the victim of gang crime and violence is much greater today than in the past due to the number of gang members and associates, which has grown significantly and continues to do so in all our communities.
All residents need to report any graffiti and/or tagging in their neighborhood and/or school grounds and immediately remove it! Report any suspected gang activity to our local law enforcement officers. Graffiti and tagging not removed invites other gang groups into our community to claim the tagged area as theirs.
Graffiti is defined as "an inscription, slogan, drawing, etc., scratched, scribbled, or drawn, often crudely, on a wall or other public surface." Tagging is the simplest and quickest, involving only the marking of the tagger's initials, symbol, or alias. Taggers usually operate independently or in small groups of two or three, called crews. Crews will also choose their own name or symbol. The name may be comprised of 2-5 letters or numbers. The taggers goal is to get your name or crew “up” and in as many places as possible.
When you come across graffiti and/or tagging, remember the "3 R's": Record it – Report it- Remove it!
Take action. When a community unites and is dedicated, corporates in an effort to stop crime and violence will greatly reduce a gang’s ability to intimidate and victimize. Graffiti targets a neighborhood for violence. Graffiti should be immediately removed. The longer it remains the more it attracts local gang members and rivals.
The key to controlling gang activity is to prevent it wherever possible and to intervene early and vigorously if it has already begun. Stay alert – Report suspicious activity –Remove graffiti and tagging immediately!
Don’t ignore the sign of gang activity because denial is the reason most problems don’t get solved. It’s easier to prevent a fight then to stop one. Everyone must get involved!
If you want more information on how to identify gang names, their signs, their language, etc., there is a booklet entitled, “2012 Edition - Street Gangs in Tulare County” which may be acquired by contacting the Tulare County Office of Education – 559-651-0155.