Why A Neighborhood Watch?
Unfortunately no police department has enough boots on the ground to prevent all crime in every residential neighborhood. This is why creating and maintaining a Neighborhood Watch program is integral in helping to protect each other and our properties.
What can you do about it? Get involved! In a nutshell, Neighborhood Watch programs are simply neighbors watching out for neighbors. The success of these programs relies on citizens understanding what suspicious behavior is and isn't, identifying it, and reporting it to authorities.
Identifying Suspicious Behavior:
Here's a quiz. Which of these do you think qualifies as suspicious behavior?
- A slow-moving vehicle, repeatedly driving down your street
- A group of teenagers walking and talking
- Someone you don't know or recognize peering into cars or house windows
- Someone loitering in a secluded area
It's clear that all of these except #2 are suspicious and would warrant a 911 call. (A group of teenagers walking and talking, by itself, is not suspicious enough to warrant a call to the police. However, it would be wise to continue to observe them for any additional sketchy behavior since many times adolescents are responsible for break-ins in our area.)
Who to call when you believe a situation qualifies: 911!
Be prepared to provide specifics to police: time of day; details on the location of your observation; height, weight, hair color, clothing description, ethnicity, age, sex, etc. of the suspicious individual; vehicle description, including make/model, color, and tag number if possible; a detailed description of the suspicious behavior; etc.
Try to improve your observation skills by practicing when you're out walking the dog – observe a neighbor you might walk past, try to remember what they were wearing, what they look like if you were to describe them to someone else, what their car looked like, etc. It's not as easy as it sounds. But once these skills are obtained, they can go a long way in helping to assist the police when you make a report.
Participate in Neighborhood Watch:
Meet your neighbors – on each side of you, and across the street. Learn their patterns, what cars they drive, how many people live there and who they are, etc. so you'll know when something seems out of the ordinary. Collect their contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses, so you can reach them if they're out of town and vice versa. It's really as simple as that.
For more information on Neighborhood Watch programs, or to learn if your neighborhood has an established program, contact your DECA representative or any member of the DECA board. You can also contact Officer Alex Cushenan
from the Chamblee Police Department
at (770) 986-5005
, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Information About Gangs
The definition of a gang is three or more individuals associated in
fact, whether formal or informal, who wear the same clothing or insignia
and engage in criminal activity. Insignia can be can be a common name
or common identifying sign, symbol, tattoo, graffiti or attire, or some
other distinguishing characteristic:
- Clothing: Gang ID is usually based on a particular
color, symbol, or letter such as a sport’s team color or hat tilted to
one side, baggy pants, one leg rolled up or only one brand of clothing.
- Colors: Most gangs have a particular color for
identity and dress in a similar style or matching style including a
neatly folded bandanna which is worn on a specific part of the body.
- Hand Signs: Gang members use their hands and fingers to form letters and numbers for communication to other gangs and associates alike.
- Music: This has always been associated with the
gang culture including several artists. It is popular for gang members
to form music groups to cover gang membership.
- Hair Cut: It is popular to have a shaven head or
closely cropped hair. Hispanic gang members will sometimes shave their
heads but leave a long portion of hair on the top.
- Jewelry: Members will show affiliation by beads, necklaces, medallions or earrings.
- Tattoos: Affiliations are shown by words and
symbols in particular styles sometimes done during recruiting or
initiation. They are a bold and semi-permanent way to distinguish
membership and popular in jail settings.
- Graffiti: An early indication of gang presence in an area and is a form of communication among members.
Gangs vary in their structure and their activity:
- Traditional Gangs: These have defined structure and profit from the drug trade.
- Non-Traditional Gangs: These have little structure and are unique to a
- Hybrid Gangs: These members are a subset of a
non-traditional that adopt that adopt the same identifications at the
traditionals and have a very loose association.
- Criminal Enterprise Gangs: These groups are highly
organized and focused on financial gain from criminal gain
(prostitution, guns, fraud, etc.) Violence is only a tool used to
protect the integrity of the enterprise or to make more money.
Typically, members are older.
- Nations: Nations are groups of traditional gangs that align under a set of symbols and identifiers.
Symbols: Each gang has its own symbol. Some of the most popular are the five and six point stars and the pitchfork.
The six reasons that someone joins are:
Gang benefits are:
Gangs are constantly recruiting new members. New recruits are allowed
to hang out until they show the ability to fight, commit crimes, and
show loyalty to the gang. The males are then initiated in by being
severely beaten (jumped in) or blessed in (vouched for by another
member) or commit a criminal act. The females are sexed in (voluntary
raped). The ideal target age is 10-13 years old.
What can parents do?
- Encourage other activities
- Monitor exposure to violence on TV, music, video games
- Cultivate respect for other’s property and pride in community
- Know the real names of your children’s friends and their families
- Don’t let your children stay out late or spend lots of unsupervised time
- Praise your children
- Talk about gangs
- Spend quality time with your children -Ask their opinions on family matters
- Identify with positive role models
- Be a good observer
- Seek the facts-Kids will tell you what you want to hear and adults will believe that they want to hear
- Set clear limits and follow through with proper discipline
- Teach decision making
- Team up with other parents
- Learn about gangs and drugs
- Help develop alternatives for the children in your neighborhood