If they wear the colors, listen to the music even commit petty crimes are they really a gang member?
That’s what the Oklahoma Gang Investigators Associations wants to teach local law enforcement, educators, child welfare workers and others who work with juveniles involved in gang activity.
This year the Gangs 101 conference will also focus on the Insane Clown Posse and its followers known as “Juggalo’s” or any group’s followers managed by Psychopathic Records.
The group is a growing concern among the community who say Juggalo’s are violent gang members.
FOX23’s Abbie Alford explains the difference between criminal Juggalo and fans of the band’s music.
Juggalo’s and Juggalette’s (female version of a Juggalo) are fans of the Insane Clown Posse or ICP. The band wears make-up and sings about violent acts.
"Juggalo family is for people that don't belong. It just fits. It's part of life it's how you live,” says Tulsa Juggalo Jesse Brown.
However, just because they paint their faces, tattoo their necks and arms and listen to music that talks about rape and murder, Tulsa Juggalo’s such as “Hangman” say that doesn’t make them a certified gang member.
"There's never been any occurrence where someone has been jumped into being a Juggalo. You don't have to kill someone or beat up a bunch of people. We are not like that," says “Hangman.”
His wife says she was raised in a Christian church and says ICP has the same Christian values she believes in.
"Juggalo’s are not gang members," says Stephanie Ward. “We are all just like everyone else."
Richard Harris with the Tulsa County Juvenile Bureau says Juggalo’s like “Hangman” and his friends are just fans who don’t pose a threat to the community.
"If their interest stops there and if that's what they get together to pursue their interest in the band, we consider them 'fan' Juggalo’s,” says Harris.
However, Harris says there are dangerous Juggalo’s.
"We have certified, criminal, Juggalo gang members in Tulsa,” says Harris.
It’s the criminals who claim the Juggalo name while committing a crime.
“It's through behavior that we differentiate our motorcycle clubs and gangs much in the same way in the Juggalo fans and Jjuggalo gangs,” says Harris.
Law abiding Juggalo’s say some in the younger generation are giving them a bad rap.
"The younger kids that are coming into it and they think they have to one up everyone else and they have to be top dog and they have to show how down they really are. It's not like that. It's a place to belong and we try to take care of each other,” says “Hangman.
The Oklahoma Gang Investigators Association is teaming up with the Tulsa Police Gang and Homicide Units, the Tulsa County Juvenile Bureau and the NSU Crime and Justice Institute for Gangs 101.
It’s a comprehensive course on street gangs in the Tulsa and Northeast Oklahoma areas.
The conference is being held at the NSU Broken Arrow campus on Friday April 23rd.
To learn more about attending the conference and the Oklahoma Gang Investigators Association click on the link attached to this story.