Illegal Behavior

Getting in trouble with your parents is bad, but getting in trouble with the law can be worse. Many risky behaviors can lead to legal risks.



Vandalism is the willful destruction or defacing of property. Not only is it disrespectful, but it’s also a crime. Damage done is often very expensive to repair and it can make our communities unattractive and unsafe. Plus, it isn’t a nice thing to do to the people who live there.

If you get caught, it could result in imprisonment for up to 10 years.


A gang is a group of peers that hang out and take part in illegal, violent or criminal activity together. They usually have a name or symbol that represents them. They may also choose to wear a certain type of clothing or to display some other item that lets others know what gang they’re in.

Teens join gangs for many reasons. They could be looking for a thrill, prestige, protection, a chance to make money or just a sense of belonging. There are better ways to find all of these things that don’t involve joining a gang.

Most people are not forced to join gangs, and they can refuse to join without fear of retaliation.

Avoiding Illegal Behavior

There are lots of ways to avoid legal behavior. Here are a few tips….

  • Find positive ways to spend your time and energy. If you are looking for a purpose or a way to belong, try joining a sports team or participating in an afterschool program. You can meet people who share your interests while exploring your interests and learning new skills.
  • Avoid gangs and gang members. Be aware of local gangs’ symbols, clothing and colors. You don’t want to misrepresent yourself as a gang member or you could end up being an innocent target.
  • Carrying a weapon is not likely to make you safe, so don’t carry one.
  • If you feel threatened by someone or are in immediate danger, contact someone you trust as soon as possible (parent, school administrator, coach etc.). Don’t take matters into your own hands. Be safe by staying in groups and avoid being along if you feel threatened.
  • Report any suspicious activity you see.