Don't Flash your Lights? Gang Initiation Myth Hits London
Message claims that drivers are in danger from gang
members participating in a violent initiation ritual (Full commentary below.
(Submitted via email, 2004)
One of the officers who works with the DARE programme has passed
long the following warning and asked that it be shared with all
This is an extremely serious matter. If you are driving after dark
and you see a car without its headlights on do not flash your
lights, do not blow your horn or make any signals to the driver
of the other car. This is a new common gang initiation game going
on the streets.
The new member being initiated drives along without his headlights
on until someone notices and flashes their headlights or makes
some other action to signal him. The gang member is now required
to chase the car and to shoot at or into the car in order to
complete his initiation requirements.
Please take this seriously. This is not a joke. Please pass this
on to everyone you know on email and in person. It could save
Some London residents have become the latest to be caught out by
an aging urban legend that claims drivers are in danger from gang
members participating in a violent initiation ritual. The legend,
which spreads via word of mouth, fax and email, warns drivers that
if they see a car driving without headlights after dark, they
should not signal the car's driver in any way. According to the
hoax, a new gang member is driving the car operating without lights
as part of an initiation ceremony. Supposedly, those who signal
the driver will be followed and shot at by the "gang member" to
complete the "initiation".
Police have reassured the public that no such crimes have currently
been reported in London. The hoax began circulating via email and
fax back in 1993 and may have originated from even earlier stories
involving motorcycle gangs. It was also given new life by the 1998
film "Urban Legend" which featured the initiation ritual described.
While incidents resembling the one described in the hoax have
actually occurred, they are thought to be copycat crimes inspired
by the legend itself. Bogus warnings such as this one should be
deleted rather than forwarded. Indeed, such messages are far
harmless. They can waste the valuable time of police staff who have
to field endless enquires about such spurious claims. They can spread
unnecessary fear and alarm within a community. At worst, they may
encourage criminals to act out the myth in real life.
Over the years, there have been a number of versions of the hoax.
Drive-by shooting myth grips public
Write-up by Brett M.Christensen