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National Youth Gang Survey, 1998

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2000
86 pages
Findings are presented from the 1998 National Youth Gang Survey, which is designed to facilitate analysis of changes and trends in the nature of youth gangs and their activities.
This fourth in a series of annual surveys was administered to a representative sample of city and county jurisdictions. To facilitate comparative analyses, the 1998 survey used the same sample as the 1996 and 1997 surveys. The sample consisted of all police departments serving cities with populations of 25,000 or more; all suburban county police and sheriff's departments; a randomly selected representative sample of police departments serving cities with populations between 2,500 and 24,999; and a randomly selected representative sample of rural county police and sheriff's departments. The response rate for 1998 was 88 percent. Survey findings indicate that the percentage of jurisdictions reporting active youth gangs decreased from the previous year, from 51 percent in 1997 to 48 percent in 1998. An estimated 780,200 gang members were active in 28,700 youth gangs in 1998, a decrease from the previous year's figures of 816,000 and 30,500, respectively. Despite these declines and similar declines from 1996 to 1997, gangs remain a serious problem; for example, every city with a population of 250,000 or greater reported the presence of youth gangs, as they did in 1996 and 1997. In addition, the number of gang members increased 43 percent in rural counties from 1996 to 1998. Data on gang member demographics include age, gender, and race/ethnicity. Data on youth gangs and crime address gang crime definitions, homicides, gang member involvement in criminal activity, the use of firearms in assault crimes, and drug gangs. Also discussed are the effect on youth gangs of adults returning from prison, task force or multi-agency collaboration, and the defining of youth gangs. 49 tables, 6 figures, 20 references, appended survey form, sample selection methodology, jurisdictions reporting youth gangs, and regions and divisions used for the survey

Date Published: November 1, 2000