Educating parents about gangs

Published: .
Updated: .

Would you recognize a gang sign in your neighborhood if you saw it?

The city wants you to be "street wise" about gang activity. City leaders along with members of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department hosted a workshop Saturday that taught concerned parents how to keep their kids out of trouble and away from gangs.

Inside Monument Lighthouse Charter School this weekend, the focus was on educating parents.

"We do need to do something. I wasn't aware the problem was so bad. But it is getting close to my house," said Adrienne Johnson.

Johnson is one of dozens of parents who took time Saturday to learn about Indianapolis gangs. She is worried about her 16-year-old daughter.

"I wasn't aware there was so much gang activity in our city, so I am learning a lot," said Johnson.

The workshop focused on how parents can identify gangs. From graffiti tag lines to certain wardrobe choices, gangs in the Circle City make a mark on their communities. Metro police say Indianapolis has a problem that could grow bigger.

"If we are not careful with our outreach efforts, we will see some of the issues like there are in other cities," said Chief Rick Hite.

Johnson's daughter is a perfect candidate for GLAM. GLAM It's a group that empowers teen girls to have self-esteem, because it's girls that are becoming more involved in gang activity.

"Females are playing a big role in gang activity now. They are becoming instigators. They become accessories to crimes taking place. Females are being used to drive cars and use phones if needed. Use their Facebook," said Shanell Poole with GLAM.

Poole talked with several parents to enroll their daughters in the program. It's a proactive approach to help concerned parents protect their children from the violence in the street.

"The most I can do is try to keep my children out of the way of gangs," said Johnson.

As Eyewitness News reported earlier this week, a local pastor also hopes to do his part to reduce gang violence in Indianapolis.

Pastor Damon Roach with First Christian Missionary Baptist Church on East 38th Street is aiming to get 1,000 guns off the streets through a buyback program.

The Pastor is partnering with the Marion County Sheriff's Department.