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Gang Outreach Unit

The Gang Outreach Unit was created in July 2007 as part of Chief Richard Miranda’s strategic plan "to enhance police operations through presence, assignment and deployment strategies.” Chief Miranda's vision was to create a gang unit focused on intervention and prevention to stop future violence by reducing gang membership. The Gang Outreach Unit will execute programs and policies in support of the overall strategy.

Program Objective

To reduce membership of the gang population of elementary and middle school aged youth by preventing children from joining gangs.

Goals

  • To identify children who are at risk of joining a gang and intervene through a referral program called the Gang Outreach Program.
  • To identify and provide community and public resources to the families of at-risk children to improve the family dynamics.
  • To provide gang identification training for local community organizations, schools, and families.
  • To increase communication between the Tucson Police Department, community organizations, and citizens.
  • To improve training within the Tucson Police Department with their approach to at-risk youth.

The Gang Outreach Unit will work with the community through neighborhood associations, church groups, and schools to identify kids who are at risk of becoming gang members.

What can you do as a parent?

  • Talk to your children about gangs and ways to avoid them.
  • Let them know that you disapprove of gangs and do not want to see them hurt or arrested
  • Tell your children
    • Not to associate with any gang members.
    • Not to hang out where gangs congregate.
    • Not to attend any party or social event sponsored by gangs.
    • Not to use any kind of finger signs that may be meaningful to gangs.
    • Not to wear clothing that may have meaning to gangs in your area.
      (Explain to your children that these clothing items can put them in danger and that you will not purchase them or allow them to be worn.)
  • Get to know your children’s friends and the friends’ parents.
  • Be aware of their attitudes toward drugs, alcohol, and gangs. When children start to feel pressure to use drugs or join gangs, it usually comes from their friends.
  • Talk to your children about ways to deal with pressure from friends.
  • Help your children practice simple ways to respond to peer pressure. For example, if your child is challenged by a peer who says, “If you are my friend, you would,” your child can respond, “If you were my friend, you wouldn’t ask.” Then, he/she should walk away.
  • Set firm limits with your children and teens.
  • Children and teenagers need to know clearly what is expected of them and the consequences for acting otherwise.
  • Do not rescue your children from the consequences of their decisions.
  • Plan family time.
  • Make time for your family to play, eat meals together, take trips, keep family traditions, and have family meetings to talk about plans, feelings, and complaints.

How can you help?

The Gang Outreach Unit refers at-risk kids and their families to existing community programs developed by non-profit organizations and government agencies. Because kids have different interests, developing a large network of resources is vital to the success of the program.

If you belong to an organization that is willing to help a child stay away from gangs, contact the Gang Outreach Unit to add your company to our network. Donations to can be made through the Tucson Police Foundation care of the Gang Outreach Unit.

For more information, contact:

Gang Outreach Unit
270 S. Stone
Tucson, AZ 85701
520-351-4441