Gang FAQ

Home Up Next



What is a Gang?


    The definition of a criminal street gang is “three or more persons having a common identifying sign or symbol or an identifiable leadership who continuously or regularly associate in the commission of criminal activities.



Kinds Of Gangs:


      There are basically four (4) types of Gangs:


  •    The Delinquent Youth Gangs

  •    The Traditionally Turf-Based Gangs

  •    Gain-Oriented Gangs

  •    Violent/Hate Gangs


A Delinquent Youth Gang is a loosely structured group of young people( mostly juveniles) who “hang out” together. The group has a name, and typically members have developed identifying signs such as similar clothing styles, colors, and/or hand signs. Members engage in delinquent or undesirable behavior with enough frequency to attract negative attention from Law Enforcement and/or school officials.


A Traditionally Turf-Based Gang is a loosely structured, named group committed to defending its reputation and status as a gang. IT is usually associated with a geographic territory but may simply defend its perceived interests against rival gangs. Members are young people( juveniles and/or adults) who typically use identifying signs such as clothing style, colors, tattoos or hand signs.The members usually mark their turf with graffiti.


A Gain-Oriented Gang is a loosely structured, named local group of young people (Juveniles and/or adults) who repeatedly engage in criminal activities for economic gain. On at least one occasion in the last year, two or more gang members have worked together in a gain-oriented criminal offense, such as burglary, robbery or the sale of a controlled substance.



Violent/Hate Gangs are a group (of juveniles and/or adults) that does not qualify as either a gain-oriented or a traditional turf-based gang, according to the definitions above. Typically, the group has developed identifying signs such as a style of dress, haircut, or insignia. Two or more of its members have, at least once in the last year, collectively committed an assault, a homicide, or an offense that could be reported under the federal HATE CRIMES ACT (Vandalism, assault, or homicide). This type of group whose violence has an ideological or religious rationale, such as racism or Satanism. This type also includes groups whose members are randomly or senselessly violent.




The terms “party”, “rave”, “crew”, “club” or “clique” are all commonly used by groups of juveniles who may or may not be involved in criminal gang activity. The fact that a group does not consider itself a gang does not mean that the group isn’t actually a gang; their behavior could be consistent with gang activities.



  •    Prison gangs

  •    Cults

  •    Satanic Cults

  •    Posses

  •    Girl gangs

  •    Car clubs


Signs of Gang Involvement:

  •     Wearing gang clothing or using hand signs

  •     Posing in Gang photos or wearing gang tattoos

  •     Being stopped or field interviewed by police in the
        company of gang members

  •     Lives in High Risk neighborhood

  •     Change in friends

  •     Change in Appearance

  •     No interest in school

  •     Skipping school

  •     Disrespect for authority, family, and school

  •     Negative confrontations with the law

  •     Withdrawal from family activities

  •     Excessive privacy

  •     Staying out later than usual

  •     Increased substance abuse

  •     Asking for or stealing money

  •     Extravagant spending

  •     Using hand signals

  •     Using unknown vocabulary, gang slang, speaking in 
        fractured sentences, excessive swearing

  •     Has new nickname

  •     Drawing graffiti symbols

  •     Unusual pen marks, bruises or burns


Parents if you start to see a change in your children there are people to help… Contact the child’s school counselor or you can contact the police department at the numbers below.



Contact Information

Lynn Police Department
Gang Unit
300 Washington Street
Lynn, MA  01902




Send email to with questions or comments about this web site.
© Lynn Police Department - 300 Washington Street - Lynn, Massachusetts 01902