Since baggy pants, incomprehensible finger configurations and a color-coded wardrobe can't always be relied upon as early warnings, a retired University of Southern California social psychology professor has offered Los Angeles a test he says can predict whether a child will join a gang.
The multiple-choice exam(.pdf), 70 questions long and aimed at kids between 10 and 15 years old, ask a series of queries on topics ranging from past relationships to drug use to attitudes towards violence, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Dr. Malcom Klein developed the test, but in order to avoid stamping "Future Criminal" on the foreheads of young children, he told the Journal that the test takers aren't informed that the questions are a gang-involvement screening.
Klein's theories are attracting law-makers and the test is now being given to the City of Angels' children for the first time, according to the Journal. Officials say they will use the results partially to figure out if LA's $24 million annual budget for gang prevention is going to good use.
Some say, however, that the test won't identify enough future gang-bangers.
"This cannot be the only solution," Ellen Pais, a senior director at L.A.'s Urban Education Partnership, told the WSJ. "We didn't expect this to be so narrow."