Homegrown Gangs

By: Laura Speakman
By: Laura Speakman

Raising money and storing guns for gangs sounds like a movie, but it is actually what police say a local 15-year-old was doing. Many local kids are part of gangs, and some of them are starting their own. Why do these kids get involved?

"This is their family this is how they are going to make their money and get their respect," said Officer Chris Watson, C.H.A.R.G.E. Gang Task Force.

Watson says many times parents aren't even aware of what their kids are doing.

"Sometimes the parents are giving them the money themselves and not knowing what these kids are doing with the money," said Watson.

Watson says parents need to pay attention to clothing; for example, wearing black pants with white tops for the group known as the Harrisonburg Handlers. Graffiti, which can be found in notebooks, includes pitchfork with six, five, and three points and stars with six, five, and three points, and of course, there's hand-signs.

"These kids are loosing fingers over throwing up the wrong hand signs and not knowing what it means. The juveniles and the younger kids we see doing this don't know the dangers," said Watson.

Watson says if you need help talking with your child you can always contact C.H.A.R.G.E. at 437-2643. Also, these signs can be subtle, so it's a matter of paying attention and talking. Watson says you'd be surprised what your child will tell you.


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