Forum to Focus on Gang Prevention - 8 News NOW

Forum to Focus on Gang Prevention

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LAS VEGAS - Debbie Damron carries a book with her wherever she goes. The book explores the secret world of gang signs and gang language. Parents can use it to prevent their little ones from joining a gang.

Not long ago, Debbie was the one in need. Her 14-year-old son sought a different type of reading material that taught the art of graffiti tagging.

"The kids go around and tag different areas, and in this piece book, they kind of put their monikers, and then they sign it, and then they pass it around to all the kids," she said.

Her son was connected to one of the more than 300 gangs in Las Vegas.

"There are hybrid gangs. There are regular gangs. There are gang members. There are gang associates. There are just so many different types," she said.

Most target teens and preteens as members - some as young as nine-years-old. That's why Metro Police is teaming with valley court judges and nonprofit groups to inform parents on preventive steps they can take.

Former gangster Jon Ponder typically hides his prison tattoos, which reflect the countless years he lost behind bars.

"Your association determines your destination. Moms who are taking a look at the kids, take a look and see who they're surrounding themselves with," he said.

He says it's easier to teach children to avoid gangs rather than waiting to pull them out of that lifestyle.

"It's an unwritten rule that once you're affiliated, you're affiliated for life," he said.

A gang prevention luncheon takes place Friday at 12 p.m. at the D Hotel on Fremont Street. Guest speakers include Metro Police Assistant Sheriff Ted Moody and Family Court Judge Cheryl Moss. The luncheon will also hand out free copies of the gang prevention book.

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