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National Youth Gang Survey, 1997

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 1999
82 pages
This is a summary of findings from the 1997 National Youth Gang Survey.
The survey contacted nearly 5,000 law enforcement agencies across the country. The percentage of jurisdictions reporting active youth gangs decreased from 53 percent in 1996 to 51 percent in 1997. Approximately 816,000 gang members were active in about 30,500 youth gangs, a modest decrease from the previous year’s figures of 846,000 and 31,000, respectively. Despite these declines, there were still serious gang-related problems. Every city with a population of 250,000 or greater reported the presence of youth gangs, the number of gang members increased in small cities and rural counties, and youth gangs continued to spread beyond the confines of major cities. An estimated 3,341 member-based youth gang homicides were committed in 1997, of which 1,880 were motive based. Crimes most frequently having a high degree of gang member involvement were aggravated assault, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft, burglary and robbery. However, gang member involvement in all of those crimes decreased between 1996 and 1997. Reasons why gang members migrated into new jurisdictions included social factors, to establish drug markets, to avoid law enforcement crackdowns, to participate in illegal ventures other than those related to drugs, and to get away from the gang life. Notes, tables, figures, references, appendixes

Date Published: December 1, 1999