Youth and street gangs often pay a high price for membership. Initiation rights often involve committing serious criminal and sometimes violent acts to prove loyalty. Membership often guarantees a criminal history that can impede a person's ability or likelihood to succeed in life. Gang members also place their loved ones in jeopardy. Drive-by shootings into residences have resulted in the serious injury or death of individuals who are not gang affiliated. Gang membership extracts a terrible toll from the lives of all who are in contact with the member. Family members often have to concern themselves with their safety because of a son's, daughter's or sibling's affiliation with a violent gang. A lasting impact is that inducted gang members often retreat from the positive influences in their community including friends, family, schools, and community organizations. They find their only friends are active gang members who become part of their extended family.
Steps Parents, Community Members and Educators Can Take
Talk to your teenager. Discuss the consequences of becoming involved in a gang or hate group.
Involve your children in family and outside activities.
Take an active role in your child's education and progress.
Become acquainted with the resources available to you such as the District Representative program, patrol initiatives and educational programs provided to the community by the Gang Suppression Unit.
Work within your community and with your government, including the Austin Police Department, in identifying and intervening in gang and hate group activities before they become a major problem in your community.
Respond quickly in removing graffiti, the common means of gang advertising, and repairing vandalism in your neighborhood. A prompt response signals gang members that we have pride in our neighborhoods, and that we will not relinquish our communities and quality of life.
Report suspected gang activity immediately. In an emergency, dial 9-1-1. You may also give a report over the telephone by dialing 3-1-1. You may wish to consult a gang specialist and should feel free to telephone the Gang Suppression Unit at 512-974-8600, or leave a message on the Gang Hotline at 512-974-8610.