The police define gangs as a group of people who may commit crimes or hurt people. They might carry knives or other weapons and use them either to show off or to threaten people. They might try and get you involved with them and what they do – or threaten to hurt you if you don’t join them, or if you belong to another gang.
Gangs are often involved in various types of street crime, and being a victim of gang crime can happen to anyone. It could happen just to you, to other gangs or groups, or to whole communities. It often takes place in public areas such as on the street, in parks and shopping centres, and you may know the person or people committing the crime, or you may not.
There are many ways gang and street violence can be carried out:
- Antisocial behaviour (ASB) – when other people’s actions make you feel harassed, scared or unhappy.
- Stalking and harassment – when someone repeatedly follows you, watches you or spies on you.
- Intimidation through threats.
- Assault – when someone physically hurts you or threatens to physically hurt you.
- Hate crime – where people can be abusive to you or target you because of your identity (such as your race, religion, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation or disability).
- Theft – when your personal items are taken from you, including robbery.