Gang Information

The department currently has three investigators and a supervisor who investigate gangs and violent crimes. This unit focuses on identifying, investigating, and arresting individuals who are a consistent and dangerous threat to our community. They do this through several key steps:

The gang investigator trains officers and community members on basic gang awareness and investigation techniques. Community members are taught techniques for identifying a juvenile involved in the gang lifestyle and prevention programs.
Intervention: The gang investigator will also identify gang members and at-risk youth and inform them of resources available for assistance.
Suppression: Gang-related crimes and delinquent acts will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted in order to suppress those activities. The department will show zero tolerance for gang-related crimes in the city.

What is a gang?

A group or association of three or more persons who may have a common identifying sign, symbol, or name, and who individually or collectively engage in or have engaged in criminal activity which creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.

There is a growing need for educating both the public and officers about the various facts involved in gang related circumstances. As it stands there are a number of myths or confusing topics when it comes to gang activity. Below are some of the basic facts to know when it comes to understanding gangs:

Possible signs of gang association in your child:

Youth who are on the fringe of gang involvement usually display some of the following behaviors and characteristics. While these are only guidelines and not concrete rules, a combination of these signs can be an indication that a child is possibly involved in a gang.
  • Poor academic progress in school
  • Lack of interest in school activities
  • Large blocks of unsupervised time
  • Signs of increased conflict at home
  • Frequent disciplinary actions, home or school
  • Drawing graffiti
  • Imitating gang dress or behavior
  • Tattoos drawn on the body
  • Uses hand signs adopted by the gang

gang myths:

Is it illegal to be in a gang?
Currently in North Carolina, it is not a crime to be in a gang. However the crimes committed while in the presence of or in association with a street gang are tried as aggravating factors in the court system.
Is it true that once you're in a gang you can't get out?
Law enforcement has done extensive research and documented cases where many gang members have been able to leave their gang safely. The situation depends entirely on the circumstances. As a community we are in the process of developing programs to assist juveniles involved in gangs to seek better options and life choices.
Are real gangs and gang members only in large cities?
Evidence shows that many larger street gangs do originate in larger more metropolitan cities. However, these gangs have begun migrating or moving into other more rural parts to either avoid detection from police or to continue criminal enterprises. Different agencies constantly share information with other police agencies regarding Gang members to improve the safety of the community and its officers. 
Are females involved in gangs?
Females are now seen as active members of many street gangs. Roughly 5% of gangs are comprised of females. 


The easiest and most common identifier of gangs in a community is graffiti. Although the extent to which a gang uses graffiti may vary, nearly all gangs identify with some type of mark or symbol. These gang signs and trademarks range from five to six point stars, roman numerals, pitchforks, crowns, and cartoon characters. Words and codes are also used to communicate drug availability and territory.

Graffiti must be reported to the police department. Your police department currently documents and photographs all graffiti. The study of these incidents leads to additional intelligence as well as possible charges against offenders. Studies have shown that graffiti must be painted over 100 percent for best results. Rival gangs have been known to re-tag or cross out graffiti that is already in place as a sign of disrespect. To prevent this, incidents need to be reported immediately and graffiti needs to be removed in a timely manner.

Please contact the Police Department if you have been a victim of gang graffiti at (336) 229-3500. You may also report graffiti using the Burlington Connected site or the app. View and download the department's graffiti brochure here.

Contact Us:

Gang Sergeant:


 Sgt. Josh Light


(336) 229-3536


(336) 229-3159

Tip Line:

(336) 229-5024


(336) 229-7100
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