General Information about Gangs

Gang identifiers and what to do if you suspect gang activity or see graffiti.

What is a Gang?

A gang is a group of two or more persons, whether formal or informal, and however identified, which individually or collectively engage in activities that are illegal, destructive, disruptive, or intimidating. Such does include, but is not limited to a criminal street gang. The group may, but need not necessarily, have an identifiable name, sign, symbol, or colors.

Gang Identifiers

The simple presence of fashion or symbols associated with gang participation is not enough to determine gang membership.  However, it may warrant further investigation or discussion with the individual. Traditionally, gang involvement may be shown through various means, including clothing and jewelry. This has included the deliberate display of certain color combinations or symbols, which may carry special significance to gang members that isn’t immediately obvious to a casual observer. Sometimes pre-existing symbols, such as a professional sports team logo or even religious symbols, may be used. These indicators generally change, and may be adopted as fashion by non-gang members.   Tattoos and hand signs are used by many gangs. Tattoos may be more common with some gangs than others. Hand signs may change. 

What to do if you suspect gang activity or see graffiti

Suspected gang activity in schools should be immediately reported to school administration. Suspected gang activity in the community can be reported to the Fairfax County Police Department by calling 911 in emergency situations. For non-emergency situation, please call 703-691-2131, TTY 7111. School administration should be immediately notified of any graffiti on school grounds.  For graffiti in the community, please call the Fairfax County Police Department non-emergency number at 703-691-2131.