Gang Awareness
Gang Awareness

Learn how to recognize gang activity and prevent gang involvement among youth.
Learn more

Contact Us

address: Attorney General of Florida
The Capitol, PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399
phone: (850) 414-3300
website: www.myfloridalegal.com
online: Contact Form
news: Weekly Newsletter

Search: This Site Web 

Frequently Asked Questions


  • What is the State of Florida doing about gangs in Florida?
    In 2008, the Office of the Attorney General and its division of Statewide Prosecution worked closely with the Florida Legislature to significantly strengthen the state’s anti-gang laws, giving prosecutors better tools to fight criminal gangs. State and local law enforcement agencies constantly work to protect public safety through gang suppression and enforcement tactics. In 2007, the Office of the Attorney General initiated a collaborative effort to develop a statewide strategy to reduce criminal gang-related activities in Florida.
  • Why was the Florida Gang Reduction Strategy created?
    There is some level of documented gang activity in every region of Florida. Gangs are involved in violent crimes, illegal drug sales, and property and retail crimes. Gangs can create an atmosphere of threat and intimidation in our schools and communities. Law enforcement alone cannot eliminate criminal gangs. A comprehensive plan and coordinated action is essential to halt, and ultimately reverse, the growth of gangs in our state.
  • What is the focus of the Florida Gang Reduction Strategy?
    The Florida Gang Reduction Strategy, initiated in 2008, is a statewide plan to reduce and deter gang-related crime and violence throughout the state of Florida. The strategy targets at-risk youth, and communities and schools where gangs are present through prevention/intervention measures. It targets criminal gangs, and gang members and associates involved in criminal activities through suppression and enforcement measures. And, it targets incarcerated gang members and ex-offender former gang members through rehabilitation and reentry measures. The Strategy provides a framework which advocates efforts to educate youth, make prevention/intervention services more effective, improve law enforcement, address re-entry issues and dramatically reduce gang membership and gang-related activities throughout Florida.
  • Who is providing financial support for the Florida Gang Reduction Strategy?
    At the inception of the Strategy in 2008, no funding or material support was provided by the Legislature. The member agencies of the Coordinating Council on Criminal Gang Reduction Strategies have dedicated staff time to Strategy coordination and implementation. Around the state, Task Force participation has been strictly voluntary. Resources necessary for organizing Task Force meetings have been provided in-kind through state and local agencies, as well as, through corporate sponsorship. Regional task force committees around the state are thinking of creative ways to marshal existing resources more wisely, seeking federal and private foundation grant funding, and enlisting business sponsorships to support local strategies.
  • Who is in charge of the Florida Gang Reduction Strategy?
    The Florida Gang Reduction Strategy is a collaborative effort among the 11 state agencies and associations represented by the Florida Coordinating Council on Criminal Gang Reduction Strategies and other state and local community organizations that have a vested interest in reducing the impacts of criminal gang activities in our state. The Office of the Attorney General has taken the lead to coordinate the seven Gang Reduction Task Forces. These task forces operate on a voluntary basis. While specific action and operational decisions are made by Task Force leaders, the Coordinating Council, chaired by the Attorney General, provides guidance and assistance in achieving the objectives of the strategy.
  • How will the Florida Gang Reduction Strategy work?
    The driving operation of this Strategy is based on the coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local governments, law enforcement, school systems, faith-based communities, prevention and intervention organizations, the business community, elected officials, and other concerned citizens. The state has been organized into seven regions and a regional Gang Reduction Task Force has been established for each region. These Task Forces provide an opportunity to bring together law enforcement and community-based organizations within and across counties in a given region. By bringing together this diversity of perspectives on topics related to gangs, the many great resources of talented experts are combined in order to develop thoughtful and deliberate solutions at the state and local community levels. It is this network of comprehensive community and state components that can more effectively plan and implement targeted solutions that address locally specific gang problems.
  • What does success look like?
    Gangs in Florida are not a recent phenomenon, particularly in central and south Florida. Of the many anti-gang strategies that have been implemented locally throughout the state, successful outcomes have been limited. However, to achieve a more sustainable impact, we must augment our efforts to a comprehensive and coordinated statewide approach that both builds upon local successes and develops new solutions. Milestone successes include:
    • Mobilization of a wide representation of stakeholders who actively participate in their regional gang reduction task forces.
    • Improved network and communication protocols at the state, regional, and local levels among all stakeholder groups who have a vested interest in the reduction of gang-related crime and violence.
    • Enhanced collaboration and cooperation between law enforcement and community-based organizations which result in reductions of gang-involved youth and reductions in gang-related activities.
    • Improvements in the uniformity of data collection procedures for gathering and sharing gang intelligence among law enforcement.
    • Increased numbers of well-informed communities on issues concerning gangs, their criminal activities, and how to best implement proven anti-gang strategies.
    • Widespread implementation of evidence-based programs and services that focus on
      • preventing gang formation
      • intervening in youth gang involvement
      • suppressing criminal gang activities
      • rehabilitating former gang member offenders
      • providing reentry opportunities for ex-offenders who are no longer gang-involved
    These types of achievements will lead us closer to the State’s goals of stopping the growth of criminal gangs, reducing the number of gangs and gang members, and rendering gangs ineffectual in Florida.
  • What is the purpose of the Gang Reduction Task Forces?
    The main purpose of the Gang Reduction Task Forces is to bring together prevention and intervention organizations, the faith-based community, the education community, the business community, local, state, and federal law enforcement, criminal justice, elected officials, and other community leaders under one coordinated framework, in order to share information, identify problems that contribute to criminal gang-activities, marshal resources more wisely, and develop and implement well-informed community-based interventions.
  • Are the Gang Reduction Task Forces a mandate by the state?
    No. The seven Gang Reduction Task Forces were created as a part of the concept of operation for the Florida Gang Reduction Strategy in order to establish a coordinated effort across the state. The regional task forces are not statutory or official bodies of the state. Participation is completely voluntary.
  • Will the Gang Reduction Task Forces always be chaired by law enforcement?
    No. The Attorney General's Office appointed leaders from law enforcement as Task Force chairs and co-chairs for purposes of initial organization. These chairs and co-chairs have established command centers, access to gang intelligence information, and well established communication protocols among themselves and with the Coordinating Council. As Task Forces become operational, members will appoint their own executive chairs and co-chairs. The regional Task Forces are currently appointing county committee chairs and co-chairs from among their various stakeholder groups, including non-law enforcement members.
  • What are the regional Gang Reduction Task Forces doing now?
    Each of the seven Gang Reduction Task Forces has held an initial organizing session. The Task Forces have appointed committee chairs and co-chairs. Meetings are held quarterly. Region and county specific goals and objectives are being outlined through committee work.
  • How will success be measured?
    Substantial reductions of both criminal gangs and criminal gang activities around the state are the definitive measures of success. In order to achieve these reductions, the Florida Gang Reduction Strategy puts forth a framework for action that includes goals and objectives organized around the 3 pillars of the Strategy. The regional Gang Reduction Task Forces are also developing locally specific goals and objectives. Evaluation of these goals and objectives will be conducted at the state and local levels.
  • Who is accountable for strategy outcomes?
    The Florida Gang Reduction Strategy is a collaborative effort among many state and local, public and private partners. Accountability for Strategy outcomes is multi-faceted:
    • The Coordinating Council on Criminal Gang Reduction Strategies is accountable for gathering and distributing compiled information on criminal gangs and at-risk youth prevention and intervention programs throughout the state. It is also accountable for providing coordination and guidance to the development of the seven regional Gang Reduction Task Forces.
    • The seven regional Gang Reduction Task Forces are made up of stakeholders who are committed to implementing multiple strategies to influence the problems known to lead to gang crime and violence. No one stakeholder group will solve the gang problem alone. It is a shared responsibility of all stakeholders throughout our communities to achieve outcomes which reduce gang membership and the consequences of gang-related activities which impact our youth and communities.
  • What do you mean by prevention and intervention?
    "Prevention", here, refers to programs, actions, and measures that attempt to prevent youth from joining gangs, as well as efforts to interrupt gang formation within communities. "Intervention" refers to programs, actions, and measures designed to reduce the criminal activities of gangs by coaxing away youth from gangs and reducing criminality among gang members. (Adopted from Youth Gang Programs and Strategies: A Summary, James Howell, National Youth Gang Center, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention August 2000. pgs. 5 & 14.)
  • What do you mean by suppression and enforcement?
    The terms suppression and enforcement indicate a combination of police, prosecution, and incarceration to deter the criminal activities of an entire gang, dissolve them, and remove individual gang members from them by means of prosecution and incarceration. (Adopted from Youth Gang Programs and Strategies: A Summary, James Howell, National Youth Gang Center, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention August 2000. p. 21)
  • What do you mean by rehabilitation and reentry?
    "Rehabilitation" refers to programs, actions, and measures designed to take a former gang member and help restore that person back into society through education and treatment. "Re-entry", refers to the process of placing a formerly incarcerated person back into society.
  • What can we do about the gang problems in our community?
    1. Acknowledge the problem: In some communities, elected officials and other residents are reluctant to admit that there is a gang problem in their community. Such denial may be due to one or more of the following concerns: they are worried it brings about a negative image upon their community; they do not agree with the potentially negative effects of labeling youth as gang members; they are not ready to be accountable for the problem, and therefore, not ready to look for solutions. No matter the reason, gangs thrive in indifference.
    2. Assess the problem: Before you can find solutions to the gang problems in your community, it is best to understand it for what it is. It is important to answer such questions as: How many gangs and gang members are there in your community? What are they doing? Where are they doing it? Do you have an emerging or chronic problem? What sorts of local conditions are contributing to your gang problem? Why are young people joining gangs in your community? Information should be gathered from law enforcement, schools, community organizations, and youth, themselves.
    3. Act on the problem: Organize stakeholder groups in your community under the umbrella of the Gang Reduction Task Force in order to stay informed, share information, and collaborate on targeted multi-strategy solutions.
  • How do I find out about gangs in my community?
    • Check with your local law enforcement agency to find out what gang awareness workshops are available in your area.
    • Check the Regional Task Force pages of this website for frequently updated information.
  • What should be done about gang graffiti?
    Remember the four (4) R's...Read It, Record It, Report It and Remove It!!!
    If gang graffiti is left unchecked it sends a message that the community tolerates vandalism and gang violence. Remember, graffiti can indicate an outright threat against a rival gang or against a specific person. The graffiti must first be read and interpreted for danger signals. Second, the graffiti should be well documented and photographed. Then, a police report should be made for tracking purposes. Finally, the graffiti should be quickly removed to reduce the likelihood of continued violence. Remember to take precautions when documenting and removing graffiti. Some communities have Graffiti Removal programs. Refer to your local law enforcement for additional information.