Gang Awareness

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Current estimates place the number of people in Cary affiliated with gangs at 129.  Sadly, there are young people in Cary who are attracted to gangs. Successfully reducing the presence and attractiveness of gangs will require a proactive, community-wide effort based on zero tolerance.

Youth in gangs

Young people are attracted to gangs for a variety of reasons, including:

  1. Looking for a sense of respect and power
  2. To find a feeling of caring and attention from a “family”
  3. Some want to make money
  4. Self protection to avoid being picked on by other gangs or bullies
  5. Some grow up in a neighborhood where it is almost a way of life
  6. Problems at home can draw the kids to the streets

Someone you know may be involved with a gang if he or she:

  1. Admits to “hanging out” with people in gangs
  2. Shows an unusual interest in one or two particular colors of clothing or particular logo
  3. Has an unusual interest in gangster-influenced music, videos, movies or websites
  4. Uses unusual hand signals to communicate with friends
  5. Has specific drawings or gang symbols on school books, clothes, walls or tattoos
  6. Comes home with unexplained physical injuries
  7. Has unexplained cash or goods, such as clothing or jewelry
  8. Carries a weapon
  9. Has been in trouble with the police or at school
  10. Exhibits negative changes in behavior
  11. Declining school attendance, performance, behavior

Signs of gang activity

According to the N.C. Governor’s Crime Commission, the most common gang-related crime statewide is vandalism. Report even the slightest suspected gang activity immediately to police by calling 911.

Signs of gang activity:

  1. Graffiti
  2. Weapons
  3. Young people flashing hand signals to each other and meeting in groups
  4. Kids coming home with cuts and bruises for “no reason”

Cary’s Gang Suppression Program

The Town of Cary is an active member of  the Wake County Gang Prevention Partnership and the NC Gang Investigators Association. The Town’s plan for gangs was developed by an intra-agency group of Cary Police and applies best practices within our community’s unique characteristics. About two dozen members of the Cary Police Department are working with the new gang program, which takes a comprehensive approach using suppression, intervention and prevention strategies.


For more information or if you think someone you know may be considering joining a gang, please contact Criminal Intelligence Unit Team Commander Sgt. Terry Leonard, (919) 380-2133.