Florida law states a person can be classified as a gang member if they meet at least two of the following criteria listed below. After someone is designated a gang member, they are entered into a database. If after five years, they do not commit any criminal acts, the title is removed. Manatee has 650 documented gang members. The database is expected to be updated in September, purging anyone with no recent criminal history.
n Anyone who admits to being in a gang.
n Anyone whose parent identifies them as a gang member.
n Anyone who is identified as a gang member by a reliable informant.
n Wears clothing style of a gang member.
n Uses hand signs known to other gang members.
n Has tattoos identifying with a gang.
n Associates with one or more gang members.
n Anyone who is identified by an informant who has untested reliability and that information is corroborated with independent information.
n Identified as a gang member by physical evidence.
n Has been observed in the company of one or more gang members four or more times.
n Has written any communication taking credit for the commission of a crime by a street gang.
SOURCE: Florida State Statutes under Chapter 874 and Manatee County Sheriff’s Office investigators