One of the most effective strategies for combating gang-related crime is to prevent youth from joining gangs in the first place. While this is a difficult task, it is far from impossible. Working together, police, parents, and the community can create an environment that encourages teens to pursue better life paths.
For parents, it is important to know their child’s friends and the families of those friends. Children are vulnerable to many kinds of influence. Knowing the friends’ families creates a network of adults who will know where the children are and what they are doing.
Quality time between parents and children is another vital component of preventing gang activity. Many studies have shown that youth join gangs for a sense of belonging. By fostering that sense of belonging in the home, families can reduce the child’s need for outside acceptance.
Further, by teaching children to both dream and plan, we give them a sense of an achievable future. If children develop life goals and know how to achieve them, through schoolwork and community involvement, they may come to see gang activity as a threat to their dreams.
For more information on preventing gang crime, contact the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, in Redwood City, California.
About Sheriff Greg Munks: Throughout his law enforcement career, Sheriff Munks has collaborated with the public to prevent gang activity and drug abuse among children and teens.