This guide for law enforcement officials reviews the history, elements, and implementation of the comprehensive gang model developed with the resources of the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).
In 1987, OJJDP began its support of a research project for the design of a comprehensive approach for reducing and preventing youth gang violence. This project developed the Spergel Model of Gang Intervention and Suppression, later renamed the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model. This model frames a response to youth gangs on multiple levels that involve the coordination of strategies developed and implemented among sectors that include law enforcement, other criminal justice agencies, education, social services, and other youth-serving community-based public and private agencies. The model has been tested for just over 20 years of implementation experience in large and small communities, with results achieved in reducing serious gang-related crimes. The administrative structure for implementing the model is headed by a steering committee that coordinates the work of the research partner, the project coordinator, and the lead agency responsible for the daily administration of model strategies. The research partner, project coordinator, and the lead agency are responsible for identifying the target population and the development and implementation of prevention strategies, intervention strategies with street outreach, and suppression strategies. Essential elements in implementing the model are acknowledgement of the gang problem; the establishment of a steering committee; a thorough assessment of the gang problem; design of a strategic plan; the characterization of relevant services and activities for key agencies; creation of a multidisciplinary intervention team; and planning for ongoing assessment and sustainability. A section on frequently asked questions is provided.