Throughout our state, gangs are actively recruiting children to enhance the power and influence of their criminal enterprise. In October 2022, the Attorney General’s Gang Prosecution Unit indicted four alleged members of a criminal street gang that was started in a local high school. That same month, this Unit indicted 17 alleged members of a separate gang that is suspected to have, in part, hosted seemingly family-friendly events as a way to target and recruit neighborhood kids.
Unfortunately, social media has helped to expand the reach and frequency of this illegal activity. Now, the ages of children that are first being exposed to the lure of the gang world are younger than ever. In 2017, the average age of youth in Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) detention centers who admitted gang affiliation was approximately 16 years old. At the close of 2022, DJJ had routinely detained individuals as young as 11 years old who professed gang affiliation and were accused of participating in criminal gang activity.
Since its creation in 2018, the Attorney General’s Georgia Anti-Gang Network has continued to focus on anti-recruitment strategies to stop kids from ever joining a gang in the first place.
As part of this ongoing effort, Attorney General Chris Carr has actively engaged with elected officials, education leaders, community partners, and law enforcement across all levels to identify proven and effective prevention, intervention, and diversion programs throughout the state.
Following Anti-Gang Network meetings in Atlanta, Albany, Athens, Columbus, Griffin and Savannah, we have been made aware of the below programs. This list has been compiled by our office to serve as a resource to help children and families identify available services in their area.
Additional Resources for Parents
To help parents recognize and prevent gang involvement, the National Gang Center offers the “Parents’ Guide to Gangs,” which includes information on common gang identifiers and other warning signs. This guide is free and available for download in English and Spanish.
To address inquiries received from concerned parents and communities, DJJ also publishes a Q&A focused on youth gang activities and teenage behavioral health issues. The most recent issues are included below.