Police start adult gang camp for the public - WSMV Channel 4

Police start adult gang camp for the public

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

How much do you know about Nashville's gangs? Police want you to know more, so you can help make the city safer. That's why they are starting a special "school" for adults in one part of the city. If it works well, it could move to other neighborhoods.

One section of Nashville can now learn everything from gang hand gestures to gang clothing and graffiti. Even if you thought you knew what gang signs were, they've changed. Police have new, current information about how to protect yourself and your community.

This is a special kind of sign language. They're what metro police and the gang unit call gang signs. Police are now sharing more of what they know about gang activity, so that you can help them police the streets.

"The biggest concern is drugs," said Sgt. Curtis Watkins with the Hermitage police precinct.

Police are starting their first so-called "adult gang camp" in Hermitage because they say so many neighbors have voiced gang concerns.

"It's concerning. I know my neighbors and I, we all look out for each other," said Hermitage resident Howard Marchant.

Marchant lives in Nashboro Village. He remembers two years ago, when a young man was shot and killed in a gang shootout on the golf course right by his home. It's why he is all for learning more about gangs.

"It's something not everybody knows or is familiar with because it's a young person's kind of thing. Knowledge is power, and the more you know about it the more you protect yourself," said Marchant.

So what are the signs? Besides hand symbols, there are pictures, certain clothing and even body language.

"Some of them roll their pant legs a certain way, some of them it's how they tie their shoe strings. They wear different articles of clothing on different parts of their body," said Watkins.

But it's not the same as it was even just last year. The gang signs are always changing. For example, bandanas are no longer prevalent gang garb.

"When police see things, then they try to adapt based on the trends," said Watkins.

There are anywhere from 40 to 50 gangs in the Nashville area, but certain ones are only in certain areas. The first adult gang camp in Hermitage will focus on the gangs present there.

"The gang types, location of the gangs, gang identifiers, and the history of the gangs," said Watkins.

If this camp is successful, police plan to hold a similar gang camp for other parts of the city. The Hermitage camp is July 26 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hermitage police precinct.

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