Awareness is the key to the solution of gang problems. The Stockton Police Gang Unit hopes these questions and answers will help you better understand and recognize gangs. If you suspect illegal gun or gang activity in your area, or to anonymously report illegal gun or gang activity, please call the Gun/Gang Hotline.
Section 186.22 of the California Penal Code defines a "criminal street gang" as: "Any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having as one of its primary activities the commission of... criminal acts... having a common name or common identifying sign or symbol, and whose members individually or collectively engage in, or have engaged in, a pattern of criminal gang activity."
Gangs today are extremely mobile and are not turf oriented as in the past. There is not one neighborhood that is completely free of gang members or gang activity. Residents should be aware of the following signs that might indicate gang activity in their areas:
Son or daughter receives calls from subjects who refuse to identify themselves or identify themselves with a nickname only. They may also refer to your son or daughter by a nickname.
Clothing alone may not be an indicator of gang membership. Parents must look beyond the clothing and determine the attitude of why the clothing is being worn. Parents should ask themselves the following questions in regard to changes in attitude:
Much of the graffiti located within the city of Stockton is not gang related, but is linked to groups referred to as "Taggers." Normally, taggers are teenagers who consider themselves street artists and take pride in putting their moniker or nickname on walls, signs, sidewalks, or other areas. Gang-related graffiti is normally easier to read, whereas tagger graffiti uses symbols and letters that are difficult to read. Gang-related graffiti can be distinguished as follows:
Police are not the sole solution, only a part of the solution. Parental involvement, intervention and prevention programs, and education, along with the Police Department, are all necessary elements of the solution. Consider the following:
We hope this information will assist you in better understanding gangs, but is important that we keep the gang situation in perspective. Only 1% of our total population is involved in gang activity. We cannot forget about the remaining 99% who are not involved in gangs. Society sometimes forgets that a lot of good things are being accomplished. It is important to keep a positive outlook and work together as a community to put a stop to gangs and their violent activities.
The City of Stockton is committed to gang intervention and prevention. Operation Peacekeeper is a program operated by the City of Stockton to assist youth who are at-risk of becoming or have become involved in gang-related activities. For additional information or assistance, please contact the Operation Peacekeeper Program Manager or Youth Outreach Workers.
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This City of Stockton web page last reviewed on --- 10/17/2011