Being part of a gang can ruin the lives of those involved and those around them. Gang culture can, and does, lead to violence and death.
It can also lead to getting a criminal record and a prison sentence. A criminal record can affect people for the rest of their lives – their chances of getting a job, getting on some courses and travelling to certain countries.
Have you noticed a change in someone you know?
You might have noticed someone you know behaving differently recently. Most teenagers don’t commit crimes or get involved in gangs but it’s important to be aware of the signs that someone you know might be. These can include…
- Not hanging around with their usual friends
- Coming home late or staying out more than usual
- Being secretive and withdrawn
- Hanging around with different people
- Having unexplained injuries
- Taking drugs
- Carrying weapons
- Skipping school
- Talking differently – for example using new slang words
- Suddenly has a lots of money and can afford expensive things like phones and watches
- Is wearing different and more expensive clothes
Help is available for those at risk of or involved in gang-related activity via the CIRV programme - find out more about it, including how to refer, here.
Tell us what you know, not who you are!
If you’re concerned about someone you know, the best thing to do is report it to someone rather than getting involved yourself. Even if their behaviour turns out to be for a different reason, they can then be offered support and help. If they are involved in a gang, you could be saving their life or stopping it being ruined.
Report non-emergency crime and information by calling 101, or reporting online here. In an emergency, always call 999.
Share information anonymously with independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555111 or online here.