Gang Suppression Unit

  Partnering with the Communities of Hammond

Gang activity and gang violence is no longer an urban phenomenon. It has spread its tentacles into the Chicago suburbs and Northwest Indiana. Gang activity is a form of organized crime and must be pursued to ensure safety in our communities.

* "If a kid is interested in gangs; that's an interest in drugs; that's an interest in violence and that's an interest in victimizing the weak. If that interest is there, that's a problem. It's just a matter of how long it takes for interest to turn to action."


The Hammond Police Department recognizes the presence of criminal gang activity in our communities.  Gangs are often involved in vandalism and tagging, auto theft, dealing illegal drugs, prostitution, burglaries, selling stolen goods, trading illegal weapons, and violence against other gang members and occasionally innocent members of our community. The mission of the Gang Suppression Unit is to gather intelligence and monitor activities of all known gangs and gang members in the City of Hammond.  Members of the Gang Suppression Unit regularly make contact with local gang members, often trying to diffuse potential gang violence and discourage potential gang members from a life of gangs. A special interaction is needed when dealing with gang members. Unit members are firm when dealing with violations of the law but show respect for individuals during social interaction. This methodology of interaction with gang members has proven successful when addressing this community issue. The Hammond Police Department has taken a “ZERO TOLERANCE” stance against criminal gang activity in an effort to make our communities in the City of Hammond safe.


The Gang Suppression Unit of the Hammond Police Department is and will continue to work together with the community members of the City of Hammond. Our top priority is to form a partnership with the citizens in our community in order to protect the interest of those in our community.

The Gang Suppression Unit has partnered with the Community Policing Division of the Hammond Police Department in order to reach out to the citizens of our community. We will continue to form partnerships with the citizens of our community to combat and suppress criminal gang activity in the City of Hammond.

We hope to see you soon at community meetings scheduled throughout the year.


Gang Defined According to the 2007 Indiana Criminal Code

IC 35-45-9-1
"Criminal gang" defined
Sec. 1. As used in this chapter, "criminal gang" means a group with at least three (3) members that specifically:   (1) either:
            (A) promotes, sponsors, or assists in; or
            (B) participates in; or
        (2) requires as a condition of membership or continued membership;
the commission of a felony or an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult or the offense of battery (
IC 35-42-2-1).

IC 35-45-9-2
"Threatens" defined
Sec. 2. As used in this chapter, "threatens" includes a communication made with the intent to harm a person or the person's property or any other person or the property of another person.
As added by P.L.180-1991, SEC.11.

IC 35-45-9-3
Participation in criminal gang; offense
Sec. 3. A person who knowingly or intentionally actively participates in a criminal gang commits criminal gang activity, a Class D felony.
As added by P.L.180-1991, SEC.11.

IC 35-45-9-4
Threats; refusal to join or withdrawal from gang; intimidation offense
Sec. 4. A person who threatens another person because the other person:
        (1) refuses to join a criminal gang; or
        (2) has withdrawn from a criminal gang;
commits criminal gang intimidation, a Class C felony.
As added by P.L.180-1991, SEC.11.

IC 35-45-9-5
Criminal gang recruitment
Sec. 5. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), an individual who knowingly or intentionally solicits, recruits, entices, or intimidates another individual to join a criminal gang commits criminal gang recruitment, a Class D felony.
    (b) The offense under subsection (a) is a Class C felony if:
        (1) the solicitation, recruitment, enticement, or intimidation occurs within one thousand (1,000) feet of school property; or
        (2) the individual who is solicited, recruited, enticed, or intimidated is less than eighteen (18) years of age.
As added by P.L.192-2007, SEC.10.

IC 35-45-9-6
Sec. 6. In addition to any sentence or fine imposed on a criminal gang member for committing a felony or misdemeanor, the court shall order a criminal gang member convicted of a felony or misdemeanor to make restitution to the victim of the crime under IC 35-50-5-3.
As added by P.L.192-2007, SEC.11.

City Ordnances to Deter Gang Activity

See City of Hammond Resource links below to view City of Hammond Ordnances that are used to deter gang activity.


What Gangs Do

Many gang activities are frequently shared by a large portion of society, except for one important difference: gang members seek confrontations with rivals. When gang members attend school, a family picnic, neighborhood gathering or party, the potential for violence and criminal activity is far greater than for any other group of people. The violent acts, usually indiscriminate, often involve innocent victims and gang violence often makes headlines. Gangs sell drugs, extort businesses, burglarize homes, rob people, intimidate people, steal cars or commit other crimes for financial gain. They kill or violently assault rival gang members.  Gangs intentionally vandalize and destroy public and private property in order to further promote their reputation, leaving graffiti behind them as their trademark. Abandoned houses, walls and fences are a favorite target for graffiti, but even occupied houses and local businesses do not escape.

Why people join Gangs

Children or teenagers join gangs for a variety of reasons: the excitement of gang activity, peer pressure, physical protection, attention and identity, financial gain, and family tradition. In many cases, youths are not actively discouraged from gang involvement by their parents, often because parents are unaware that their children are engaged in gang activity or have little knowledge of gang activity.

The media has also helped fuel the desire of our youth to be part of a gang or look and act like gang members. The media has portrayed the life of a gang member as being meaningful and thrilling through the promotion of certain films, hip-hop/ rap music, and television shows. MTV has been one of the bigger promoters of the gang lifestyle. They know that the thrill and excitement that gang life portrays appeals to the majority of our youth in society. MTV has targeted these youth and market the “Rap” and “Hip-Hop” culture that goes along with the gang lifestyle.      

Gang Names

Gangs generally identify themselves by a name derived from a street, neighborhood, or housing project where they are based, or from a rock band they like, or a cult they follow.

Street Gangs

Gangs are predominately territorial. Each gang has its own turf and graffiti marks its boundaries. Anyone not belonging in the area and who resembles any rival gang members may become the subject of attack.  In recent years there has been a change with respect to territorial dominance.  We have seen in many places members of rival gangs living in the same apartment complex or neighborhoods.  This is a growing phenomena that is explained by a shifting and transient lower income population, and a more mobile and diversified society.

The Left and Right Rule

Some gangs stem from prison gangs that have returned to the streets and neighborhoods where they originally started. These gangs have different religious beliefs and/or code of honor, manifestos and/or mission statements. Because of the differences and alliances to their perspective gangs, the members show their affiliation by dress, writings, tattoos, graffiti, etc.  These types of behavior are known as the LEFT & RIGHT rule.  By dressing, writing, tattoos, etc., the member shows his or her alliance to the gang and shows rival gangs his or her gang designation.

There are two main alliances that gangs will usually identify with.  These are known as "PEOPLE" and "FOLKS". The "PEOPLE" gangs wear their identifiers to the LEFT side of the body.  This would include, but is not limited to, hats, jewelry, or a rolled-up left pant leg.  "PEOPLE" also represent their affiliation with the number 5 and/or the 5-pointed star.  In their drawings, a 5-pointed crown, pyramid, top hat, crescent moon, or a rabbit head with straight ears may be seen.  An upside down pitchfork is used to show disrespect to the rival "FOLKS" affiliation.

 The "FOLKS" gangs wear their identifiers to the RIGHT side of the body.  This includes, but is not limited to, hats, jewelry, or a rolled up right pant leg.  They represent their affiliation with the number 6 and/or the 6-pointed Star of David.  Their drawings may consist of an upward pitchfork, a winged heart or a rabbit head with one bent ear and they will draw an upside down 5 or crown to show disrespect to the rival "PEOPLE" gangs.

A few street gangs belong to neither the "FOLKS" nor the "PEOPLE".  These independent gangs feel they do not need other gang alliances or simply want to form their own affiliation.  These groups are often made up of members of several different gangs and refer to themselves as "Party Crews" and “Scavenger Gangs”.


Most gang members dress in a similar manner. The uniform or colors of local gangs can be easy to identify with a little bit of information. It includes white T-shirts, thin belts, baggy or sagging trousers, and a ball cap, which is normally cocked to one side or the other. Gang members also like particular brands of shoes, pants or shirts. For example, some gangs like to wear plaid Pendleton shirts in either: blue, brown, black or red. These shirts are worn loose and un-tucked. Gang graffiti, symbols, messages or gang names can be written or embroidered on jackets, pants and ball caps. Other identifying items include belt buckles with the gang's initials, key chains, or professional team jackets. 

Today, there is a trend to move away from gang identifiers so that “gang-bangers” are not so easily identified by police or rival gangs. Many gang members are wearing less obvious blue jeans and white t-shirts when out in public, saving their gang colors and jewelry for gang parties or more private events.

Figure 1- Examples of Gang Clothing

Figure 2 - Examples of Gang Body Art


Individual gang members usually have a nickname or moniker that fits the individual's physical, personal or psychological traits. For example: A gang member called “Shorty” could get his moniker based on his height.

Graffiti...The Danger of Writing

A problem, which affects our neighborhoods in a variety of ways, is GRAFFITI. Without a doubt, this type of vandalism decreases property value in residential neighborhoods and creates a sense of fear or intimidation in the community. Of greater concern than the property damage is the random violence associated with gang graffiti. Gang members use graffiti to mark their "turf" or territory, declare their own allegiance to the gang, advertise the gang's status or power, and to challenge rivals.

When a neighborhood is marked with graffiti indicating territorial dominance, the entire area and its inhabitants become targets for violence. A rival gang identifies everyone in the neighborhood as a potential threat. Anyone on the street or in their home is a target for drive-by attacks by rival gang members. Unfortunately, innocent people are often subjected to gang violence by the mere presence of graffiti in their neighborhood. 

Examples of Graffiti Found in Hammond

         Figure 1- Gangster Disciples                                      Figure 2- Latin Kings

          Figure 3- Spanish Vice Lords                                  Figure 4- Imperial Gangsters

Report Graffiti to the Police Department


Hammond Public Works



People Nation Gangs of Hammond:                              Folks Nation Gangs of Hammond:

                 Vice Lords (VL)                                                                   Black Gangster Disciple (BGD)
                 Latin Kings (LK)                                                                  Black Disciples (BD)
                 Black P- Stones (BPS)                                                        Spanish Gangster Disciples (SGD)
                 Brown Pride Locos (BPL)                                                     Maniac Latin Disciples (MLD)
                 Four Corner Hustlers (4CH)                                                  Two-Sixers (2-6N)
                 Spanish Vice Lords                                                             Imperial Gangsters
                 Latin Counts                                                                       Latin Dragons
                 Mickey Cobras


C:\Documents and Settings\Mike and Deanna\My Documents\Academy\folksguy.gifC:\Documents and Settings\Mike and Deanna\My Documents\Academy\peopleguy.gif

Clues that You’re Child May be Involved with Gang Activity

* Changes in behavior     * Poor academic progress     * Signs of alcohol / drug abuse

* Lack of interest in extracurricular activities     *Lack of interest in recreational activities

*Unexplained truancies     *Low self esteem     *Resentful of authority

* Radical change in friends     *Radical change in clothing

*Gang - oriented drawings on books, clothing etc.

What Can I Do To Help?

You and your neighbors can work with the police to help eradicate gangs and drugs from our community. Here are some suggestions on how to get involved:

  • REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY - Gang members rely on intimidation and fear. They assume that citizens will be too afraid to call the police. You know your neighborhood better than anyone else. When something is not right, call and report it right away. DIAL 911
  • PARTICIPATE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH PROGRAM - This is a great way to get to know your neighbors and work with them to fight crime.
  • ATTEND A COMMUNITY CRIME WATCH MEETINGMake it a point to attend a crime watch meeting that is scheduled throughout the year in your community. Meet your community-policing officer and talk with officers from the Gang Suppression Unit and let them know your concerns.
  • CONTACT THE GANG SUPPRESSION UNIT OFFICE If you have information or a concern, feel free to contact the Gang Suppression Unit. You can contact us by phone, e-mail, or we will make arrangements to meet you at your home, business, police department, library or location of your choice. 
  • LEARN ABOUT GANG AND DRUG ACTIVITY IN YOUR COMMUNITYTake the time to learn about gangs and drugs in the community. If you need assistance, the Gang Suppression Unit offers materials and presentations to make you more aware of gangs and gang activity.
  • GRAFFITI CLEAN UP - The best defense against graffiti is immediate removal. The longer it stays up, the more recognition the vandals get from their peers. Judge Harkin of the Hammond City Court operates The Graffiti Removal Program. The program offers citizens of Hammond the free service of painting over or removal of graffiti. See contact information below.
  • NIGHT LIGHTING - Encourage your neighbors to leave porch lights on at night and install sensor lights around your homes. The City of Hammond offers a free lighting program through the Hammond Urban Enterprise Association. See Hammond Resources below for contact info.

Combating Gang Influence

·         DEVELOP GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS WITH YOUR CHILD - Good communication is open, frequent and takes on a positive tone.  It allows your child to come to you to discuss any topic or problem.  It does not condemn or put down.  Good communications allows you to tell your child that you love them.

·         SPEND TIME WITH YOUR CHILD - Plan activities that the whole family can enjoy.  Spend time alone with your child.  Expose them to different places outside of the norm (i.e. museum, beach, parks, etc...).  Give them attention.  

·         OCCUPY YOUR CHILD’S FREE TIME - Give your child responsibilities at home.  Get them involved in after school sports, recreation, clubs or church activities.    

·         SET LIMITS FOR YOUR CHILD - Children need to know whit is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.  Be consistent.    

·         SET A CURFEW FOR YOUR CHILD - Avoid a lot of unsupervised time out on the streets and know where your child IS at all times.   

·         KNOW WHO YOUR CHILD IS HANGING AROUND WITH - Meet and know your child's friends.  Look for what type of influence they have on your child and how and where they spend their free time. Discourage your child from hanging around with gang members.          

·         AVOID BUYING AND DISCOURAGE THE WEARING OF GANG STYLE CLOTHING - Wearing gang style clothes may express an interest in the gangs and will attract the attention of the gangs.

·         DO NOT ALLOW THE PRACTICE OF WRITING GANG SYMBOLS - Teach respect for other's property.  Examine your child’s books, papers, clothes, bodies, and walls in their rooms for symbols or other gang markings.         

·         MONITOR AND LIMIT YOUR CHILD’S USE OF THE INTERNET - Be especially wary of internet sites that your child frequents. Install software on your computers at home that limit where your child may navigate. Be especially wary of internet sites such as My, chat rooms, and fight rooms. Gangs also have websites with encrypted codes that allow them to discuss their activities and announce meetings, narcotic sales locations, and general information to members and potential members.









To Contact the Hammond Police Department Gang Suppression Unit

Gang Suppression Unit Hotline








Resources for Gang Information

G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education And Training)
National Major Gang Task Force
National Youth Gang Center
The Totally Unofficial Rap Dictionary
 Glossary Prison Terms

City of Hammond Resources

Hammond Home Security Program- 852-2909, Call for assistance to secure your home.
     Hammond Urban Enterprise Association - 853-6512, Securitylighting installed at your home for no cost.
City of Hammond Ordnances -
Hammond City Court, Graffiti Removal Program - 853-6410