Sheriff's Office

Gang Awareness

The National Gang Intelligence Center has reported that on average, nationwide, 48 percent of violent crime has a gang connection. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office is committed to eliminating gang violence in our community. This is achieved by attempting to keep youth from joining gangs and by educating the community on ways to identify and report gang activity. In 2012, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced a new initiative to combat gang activity, Gang Free Kansas, which assists in this process. This is also assisted by the Wichita Crime Commission’s Gang Free Wichita.

Gang "Tagged" Neighborhood Watch sign

What is a Street Gang?

Street Gang

A criminal street gang is an ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having as one of its primary activities the commission of one or more criminal acts and that has a common name or common identifying sign, symbol, or specific color of apparel displayed, and whose members individually or collectively engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal activity. (K.S.A. 21-6313)

Question: If the police know who the gang members are, why don't they arrest them?

Answer: The answer is very simple. It is not against the law to belong to a gang. It is the criminal activity in conjunction with gang membership that is illegal.

Gang Tattoo

Characteristics of Gangs

Gang Tattoos

Reasons for Membership

Young people join gangs for many reasons. The most popular reasons are as follows:

Identity or Recognition - Allows a gang member to achieve a level or status not impossible outside the gang culture. They visualize themselves as warriors protecting their neighborhood.

Protection - Kids join because they live in a gang area and are subject to violence by rival gangs. Membership guarantees support and retaliation.

Brotherhood - The gang is a substitute for family cohesiveness. Many older brothers and relatives belong to the gang.

Intimidation - Kids may be forced to join through intimidation, such as extorting lunch money and/or beatings.

Often young people are unaware of the risks involved when they join. The majority of these reasons derive from sense of ALIENATION from family and friends. FAMILY is the greatest single factor that can determine if a child joins a gang.

House "Tagged" with gang graffiti

Recruiting Locations

Pre-Gang Behavior

The following are clues to potential gang involvement:

Gang clothing "tagged" with gang affiliation

Signs of Affiliation - "Representing"


Talk to your children about gangs and ways to avoid them.


Common gang clothing items (colors)



We, at the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, are dedicated to helping citizens combat crime in their neighborhoods. But we need your help! By utilizing crime prevention techniques around your home, work place, and vehicles, you can decrease your chances of becoming a victim! If you have any questions about what you could do to help protect yourself and your property, please call either your Community Liaison Unit at (316) 660-3920 or your Community Policing Unit at (316) 660-0750.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this document is not intended to be legal advice, but is merely intended to convey general information commonly encountered when dealing with the Subjects discussed herein. Because laws can change very rapidly, we cannot guarantee that any

Information on this document (or references contained therein) is current or accurate. Additionally, laws differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and are subject to interpretation of courts located in each county. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case and the information provided herein may not be an appropriate fit for your particular situation. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, its employees, agents, or others will not be liable or responsible for any claim, loss, injury, liability, or damages related to use of this document or any reference provided herein.

Related Links / Articles

National Gang Center

National Crime Prevention Council

FBI - Gangs

Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T)

National Criminal Justice Reference Service

Wichita Crime Commission

The National Center for Victims of Crime