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Could your kid be a gangster?

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May 16, 2008

 Albany -- Dougherty County School Police say many parents are shocked when investigators tell them their kids are gang members.  

School Police say parents need to be more active in the lives of their children. They say it doesn't hurt to be nosy and even inspect your kids room.    

Earlier this month six Merry Acres Middle School students were found guilty of gang participation crimes in Dougherty County juvenile court. School police say many of their parents had no idea their 13 and 14 year old children were gang members.

"A lot times the parents don't know the warning signs, and then we have some who are in denial," said Dougherty County School Police Chief Troy Conley.

School police officers keep watch everyday for gang signs and activity, but they say parents need to do the same thing at home. That means room searches. "Oh most definitely. They need to constantly do random checks of their living quarters or bedrooms," Conley said.

Look for warning signs like bandanas and clothing of the same color, jewelry and excessive money. Parents should also check cell phone and computer records. "They need to play close attention to a child's interest in gang related movies, videos, even web sites," Conley said.

School Police say many young people are lured into gangs thinking it's all a game. "Some of them get in a little too dep, and don't understand the dangers. That's why parents need to keep open lines of communications and be observant."

Because Investigators are finding many parents don't know if gangs are a part of their child's life. With summer break just weeks away, School Police say parents should keep a close eye on their children, and know who they are hanging around with when school's out.

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