Spot the Signs!
I read a police article today about spotting the signs of children involved with County Line gangs.
I could tell immediately that this was the perception of people looking from the outside in. So I'm going to tell you how to spot the signs, from somebody that has been on the inside looking out. Trapped in the epicentre of a County Lines gang, doing nothing but observing these young teens being exploited. I am going to state fact from fiction and give you the brutal reality.
Here are some signs that a young teen is in some way involved with County Lines...
Fiction: They become introverted and secretive. Will distance themselves from family members and communicate less and less.
Fact: Their confidence will skyrocket, they often become cocky and back-chat, they are full of bravado and feel that they are invisible.
Fiction: Leaving home without care or explanation, or being found out-of-area.
Fact: It's more common for the youngster to be home far more often, and only in rare cases are they found out-of-area. Normally their presence and social interaction within their local area INCREASES.
Fiction: Will often be carrying large quantities of drugs, and weapons.
Fact: You think a County Lines boss is going to trust a young teen to carry large quantities of drugs worth thousands of pounds around with them? Or allow them to carry a weapon, potentially risking their hardcore reputation being jeopardised by a 14 year old?
Fiction: Suspicion of self harm, physical assault or unexplained injuries.
Fact: Self harm is what SAD people do. Physical assault leaves marks...which draws attention from interfering adults. So is avoided at all costs. The only injuries will be stab wounds.
Fiction: Significant decline in school performance.
Fact: Teenagers are sneaky. A decline in school performance is a change in pattern, which draws attention from those pesky, nosey adults. So more often than not, they will over compensate to cover their arse, ensuring they blend in.