Not there for your children? Gangs will be

KATY, TX (KTRK) -- The report of a gang-related assault in a Katy ISD middle school bathroom shocked many of you last month. But we've spoken with several gang members who tell us gangs in schools is nothing new. In fact, middle school age is the time they're likely to get to your children.

We spoke with a Crip, a former Crip, and a Blood.

"As an 11-year-old I was initiated into the Grape Street Crips," says Wesley Jenkins.

The three men have the same story of early initiation into gang life.

"How old was I? 11," says longtime Blood Jeff.

"I was initiated at the age of 14," adds longtime Crip D.

And they all entered prison early as convicted murderers. After serving their time, they're now living upstanding lives on the outside.

They tell us they joined around the same age as the 10 students involved in a gang-related incident at Katy ISD's McDonald Junior High in September. Jeff says gangs in the more desirable school districts shouldn't shock anyone.

"Gangs have money now," he says. "So I can move to Katy and you'll never know I'm there."

And it's on you - especially parents - to spot the signs.

"If he has free time, who is he with? Know who he's with. And when you have them all together, look at what they're wearing. Look at what they listening to," Jeff says.

"You don't know that if your son is wearing a Chicago Bulls hat, a Michael Jordan jersey, and some red and black J's that he possibly could be a member of the Bloods," adds Jenkins. "You don't even consider that because you're thinking about what you have to do to maintain your six figures, how can you get that bonus at the end of the year."

A DPS report released in August says large gangs often send young members of smaller street gangs to commit their crimes. These insiders we spoke with say money and a sense of belonging give them easy targets.

"Recruiters know what they're doing," D said. "They recognize the weakness in households, and they prey on that. That's how they build their team. A lot of them are doing that now to survive in the dope game."

That means getting your kid on board when you're not paying attention.

"I don't see businessmen hollering at the lil homies saying 'Hey lil homie did you get an A today in school or what you do today at school?'" said Jeff. "This dude is a gang member hollering at me. But he really has concern about me."

"A kid, it's very easy," says D.

"If I don't know somebody that go to that school, my homie know somebody that go to that school. My daughter know somebody that go to that school. So if I wanted to just be recruiting in that school, I could be in that school," Jeff told us.

They agree that if you're not there, the gangs will be.

"I want to educate those people who would see this interview and let them know your child wants you," Jenkins cautions.

As an insider, Jeff believes Texas hasn't seen the worst in terms of gang activity.

Here is a link to the entire DPS gang report that shows where the gangs are, what they do, how many estimated gang members there are in Texas, and much more.

And here's a link to the signs to look for on your kids' clothing, in their backpacks, and around your neighborhood. null
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