Gang intervention and prevention begins in the home. As a parent, you need to discourage your children from gang involvement and explain the dangers to them. Here are a few ideas you might consider:
Develop good communication with your children
Good communication is open, frequent, and it takes on a positive tone. It allows your children to come to you to discuss any topic or problem. It does not condemn or put down. Ask your child questions about gangs. Questions like, Are you in a gang? Do you know any gang members? Are there gangs at your school? Have you ever been asked to join a gang? Are you afraid of gangs at your school? If you have concerns, contact your neighborhood association, the police, your child’s school administration, or the Juvenile Court.
Know who your child's friends are
Meet your children’s friends. Find out who they are, what influence they have over your children and how they spend their free time.
Occupy your child's free time
Give them responsibilities at home. Get them involved in after school, sports, city recreation or church activities.
Learn about gang and drug activity in your community
Learn how gang members dress, how they speak, their behavior and their activities. Attend informational meetings, police community presentations, and read current articles relating to gang activity. Become an informed parent!
Participate in the education of your children
Take an interest in your children’s education. Visit your children’s school, meet their teachers, and attend parent/school meetings.
Participate in the community
Know your neighbors. Organize or join neighborhood watch groups. Discourage gangs from hanging around your neighborhood. Report suspicious groups to the police department. Immediately report graffiti to the graffiti hotline. Graffiti left up sends the wrong message about your neighborhood.
Community Pro Social Opportunities and Presentations
For more information or to request a presentation, please call: 503.823.4180
Report any suspicious gang and/or drug activity
- Portland Police NON Emergency- 503-823-3333
Be a good example. Become an active, not passive, parent.
Do’s and Don’ts
- DO NOT ALLOW YOUR CHILDREN TO WRITE OR PRACTICE WRITING GANG NAMES OR GRAFFITI on their books, papers, walls, clothes or any other place. Teach respect for other’s property.
- DO NOT ALLOW YOUR CHILDREN TO STAY OUT LATE and spend a lot of unsupervised time "hanging out" with friends. Remember, curfew is 10 PM for children under 16 and Midnight for children under 18 on the weekends.
- DO NOT permit children to attend and/or host unsupervised parties.
- DO NOT overlook the potential for females to be involved with gangs. They may support male gang members as a related subgroup or form a gang of their own.
- DO notify schools, as well as police, of gang-related incidents. It is especially important to notify schools early in the morning on Mondays if there were any neighborhood weekend gang problems which may spill over into the schools.
- DO escort students to and from school when they identify a fear of being assaulted, threatened, harassed, etc. This may prevent them from ganging up for defensive purposes, which sometimes leads to further gang and criminal activity.
- DO control the exposure of your children to negative activities, friends, music, etc. Although we cannot shelter children from all the "evils" of society, we can monitor their activities, associates and discuss the negatives and pitfalls of their relationships.
- DO work with community groups to remove graffiti from garages, houses and property in your immediate community. Be persistent! Graffiti has a way of reappearing.
- DO lobby public officials and support their efforts to establish prevention programs and other efforts to address gang activities.
There are positive things that parents can do to prevent gang involvement by their children:
- Don't say it can't happen here
- Demand accountability for time spent
- Demand that your children remain in school
- Demand accountability for money and clothes
- Meet and greet your children's friends
- Introduce yourself to parents of friends
- Be observant of dress patterns and jewelry
- Require positive activities for your children
- Talk about the dangers and impress upon them the reality of gangs
- Ask questions whenever you're suspicious