Gangs are not your family they are your demise
What is a Gang?
Colorado Revised Statute 17-1-109(2)(b) defines a GANG as :
“… a group of 3 or more individuals with a common interest, bond, or activity characterized by criminal or delinquent conduct engaged in either collectively or individually.”
What does a gang member look like?
Despite today’s media, a gang member is not easily recognizable. Gangs are not a big city or inner city problem they are everyone’s problem and put all people at risk.
They are in suburbs and cannot be identified by a particular race or culture. Gangs are from all ethnic, racial, socioeconomic, gender and geographic backgrounds. They bring fear and violence to neighborhoods, traffic in drugs, destroy property, involve youth in crimes and drive out businesses. Gangs pull youth away from school and home into a life of violence and crime.
The story of Edgar Jiménez Lugo, who went by the nickname “El Ponchis”, from California, who brutally killed three people, stated it started at 11 and he was coerced into crime by gang members.
Life of a Gangster
- They may be killed or injured during gang activity
- Many get diseases
- Many go to prison
- Many become dependent on alcohol and drugs
- Gang members frequently drop out of school, limiting their chances for higher education and a good job
- They embark on a life of crime
- They commit seriously felonies that lead to lengthy jail time
- They may be killed when they try to leave the gang
Who gangs hurt
Getting involved in a gang hurts numerous people in their life – number one being the “gangster”. Some think joining a gang will protect them and they will be part of a new “family.” Where is that “family” while you are in jail or prison? How many times do they bond another gang member out?
Joining a gang will hurt you and anyone you love. You no longer think for yourself, you become someone’s puppet; you are giving someone else the power over your life. Don’t be conned into a life of gangs and crime.
Doing dirt for someone else
Gang members are more likely than at risk youth to participate and initiate crime. Studies have shown that gang members are more likely to participate in crimes including violent crimes ranging from assault to homicide even when they have no personal relation with the victim.
So many gang members crave respect, but they fail to see they are not even respected by their new “families”.
There is a quotation “Friendship is selfless love, care, respect, and honor not a profitable opportunity.” ask yourself if gang members are really your friends or if you are just a profitable opportunity to solicit drugs, and do dirt for them.
What you can do!
How to Protect Yourself:
- Don’t choose to hang out or associate with gang members or “wannabe” gang members.
- Don’t choose to identify or communicate with gangs.
- Keep your eyes open for known gang hangouts and steer clear.
- Know the gang-related clothing in your area and don’t wear it where gangs congregate.
- Never choose to attend a party put on by gangs or their associates.
- Don’t choose to take part in any graffiti activity or hang around where graffiti is present.
- Don’t use any kind of finger gesture or sign language in public that might be construed as a gang sign.
- Choose to Be proactive and tell your parents, a school counselor, or a police officer immediately if you are approached by a gang member attempting to recruit you. If you don’t want controversy call Crime Stoppers. You remain completely anonymous.
- Choose to let gang members know you respect them but you are not interested in joining a gang.
- Choose to attend school regularly and work hard. Look at the bigger picture — what kind of job would you like? What do you have to do to get that job?
- Find others who want to stay out of gangs. Develop friendships with peers you trust.
- Gradually limit your involvement with other known gang members. The less you are in the area, the better. Find activities to keep you occupied and away from that area. Fading out is a part of the process.
- Get involved with school organizations and other community activities. Your school counselors and city websites would be an excellent resource for these activities. Remember, “idle hands are the Devil’s playground.” Get involved and stay busy. There is more to life than what a gang can offer. You do not need the false self esteem a gang provides.
If you get involved in a gang, is it hard to get out?
Leaving a gang is extremely difficult. They have already branded members, with tattoos, beat them in and made them engage in activities that make them feel guilty and feel like they have to stay. However there are resources to get out. Or, if you have a friend that you know is joining or in a gang tell Crime Stoppers before it is too late.
Resources to get out!
- GRASP Gang Intervention Program 720-913-6606
- His Side Gang Rescuer 7204222390
- Open Door Youth Alternative 303-893-4264
- Urban Peak/ The Spot 303-777-9198
- Youth Biz 720-974-5102