Graffiti & Gang Problems

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Graffiti & Gang Problems:

Here are a few tips if you suspect gang activity in your area. (If gang activity is already heavily established in your area, it is harder, but not impossible, to get rid of).

· Don’t ignore a problem. A problem will get bigger if ignored. If allowed to “hang out”, a gang will quickly claim the area as their turf. It won’t be long before graffiti covers everything and gunshots ring out. If you see people starting to hang out at a location, drinking, gambling, and even illegally parking call the police. You can remain anonymous, and if the problem people get “harassed” by the police enough, they will leave for another location where everyone looks away and allows them to terrorize the neighborhood.

· Don’t be intimidated. Gangs work on intimidation and violence. In most areas, people are afraid to stand up to the gangs. I have been to the scene of a shooting where 40-50 people witnessed the shooting, but not one will talk to the police. (Some will come to the police station or call in a tip anonymously later). This intimidation is what fuels a gang and gang activity. By no means should you stand up to a gang physically; you do it through the police and as a neighborhood group. A gang will not remain in an area if their intimidation does not work, where they are constantly reported, where they can be driven out.

· Call your local police department. In this day and age, almost every police department has a gang task force, or at least a gang expert. Talk to the gang unit; tell them of your observations, any graffiti you see forming. They are the experts in your area, and they can tell you if this might be a kid playing with a spray can, or if it is a serious problem forming that they need to be aware of. Gangs forming in an area are like a health problem. If it is caught early enough, it can be solved rather easily. If allowed to grow and fester, it is harder to get rid of.

· If you see graffiti, report it immediately to the owner of the property, the police, or your local code-enforcement division if you have one in your city. If allowed to stay, it invites more graffiti, rival gangs coming in to tag their names, and a turf war erupts. The police know this and they don’t want gangs infesting neighborhoods either.

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