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Program Targets Young Gang Members | Crime

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Program Targets Young Gang Members

LAS VEGAS -- A possible gang-related shooting is raising awareness about the increasingly young age of gang members.

Sunday, police say a 14-year-old gang member pulled out a gun and shot a man in the leg. If you think age 14 is young, you would be shocked to know when some gang members get their start. Metro's Gang Unit says some gang members in town get their start at 8-years-old.

There are several reasons why kids get involved so young. Metro says some are born into the lifestyle while others may be looking for some protection. Also, Metro says younger gang members are more easily persuaded, unable to understanding the potential consequences.

Metro says gang members of all ages have been caught with weapons -- from young to old. The first time your child gets stopped by police and is identified as a gang member or associated with a gang member, Metro says they notify parents by letter in hopes the parents will intervene.

Lt. John Healy with Metro's Gang Crimes Bureau says while there are counselors and programs at school to help these kids, it's all about parental monitoring.

"We all know that the parents have to be involved. At 10 o'clock tonight, do you know where your child is? If you don't, you aren't involved enough," he said.

Currently in Las Vegas, there 14,000 known gang members. Metro doesn't have statistics on how many of those are under the age of 10.

Starting Tuesday, North Las Vegas Police will actually start a six week gang education resistance and training program. Ten families will learn how to better communicate within the household and will learn the truths about gangs and their dangers.

Police are still looking for four families to take part in this program. If you are interested, click here.