Gangs and Graffiti


Gangs and Graffiti

*The following information is from Allentown School District.

  • What is a gang?

Three or more individuals with a common interest, bond, or activity whose purpose includes the commission of illegal acts, and who refer to themselves by a group name or designation.  The definition of a "gang" shall also include what is commonly known as a "hate group". 

Gang members come from all races and social classes.  They range from elementary school children to young adults, and include both girls and boys.

Young people join gangs for: identity, power, protection, excitement, acceptance.

Some gang members are pressured into joining a gang.

  • What can you look for?

Skipping school, curfew violations, withdrawal from family and regular activities, abusing alcohol or other drugs, color identifiers, graffiti, tattoos, hand signs or handshakes, uncommon names or slang, unexplained bruises, carrying guns, knives or other weapons, change in friends, late night activities, unexplained expensive items or cash, extreme changes.

  • Don't jump to conclusions.

If you think your son/daughter may be involved with a gang: talk to him/her, but don't accuse, and seek help for the school guidance office or the Allentown Police Department's Youth Division at 610-437-7741.  Young people are often unaware of how dangerous it is to belong to a gang and how it may impact their future.

  • Families are the key to Prevention.  What can you do?

You need to be aware of changes in your children such as the way they dress, their selection of friends, and/or their behavior.

Pay attention to what is going on in your child's life.  Truancy, violence and disregard for persons or property may be indications of possible gang involvement.

Learn to identify the signs of gang activity.

Extra money.  If your child has purchased new and expensive items or has extra money that cannot be accounted for, it should raise flags that something is going on.

Changes in behavior and dress can be a normal part of adolescence or an indication that something is wrong.  Know the difference by being an involved parent.

Get involved!  Become aware of what's going on in your neighborhood and community.  When incidents such as vandalism, loitering and suspected drug activity occur, report them to the local police department at 610-437-7751. Project a clear message that gangs will not be tolerated in our community.

  • Graffiti Tagging

Graffiti vandals cause hundreds of thousands of dollars of property damage in Allentown each year.

  • Graffiti:

Is linked with other illegal activities.

May be done by taggers seeking fame and recognition.

Is a street newspaper.

Can mark gang territory or advertise drug sales.

Should be immediately read, recorded and removed.

It is illegal for youth under the age of 18 to buy or possess spray pain in Allentown. 

If you see graffiti vandalism in progress, call 911.

For information, to report graffiti activity, or to help with cleanup, cal 610-437-8729.  Rewards up to $500 are available for information leading to the arrest of graffiti vandals.