This report provides the results of the 1999, 2000, and 2001 National Youth Gang Survey as well as the preliminary results from the 2002 survey.
Overall, the findings reveal the significant variability in the characteristics and behaviors of gangs across the Nation, indicating that communities should comprehensively assess their local gang problem before developing prevention programming. Communities are urged to adopt the Comprehensive Gang Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression Model, which identifies the most promising strategies for reducing gang problems. Survey responses from 2002 indicated the presence of approximately 731,500 gang members in almost 2,900 law enforcement jurisdictions across the United States. Forty-two percent of agencies in 2002 reported that their gang problem was getting worse, up from 25 percent in 1999. Gang homicides were most frequently reported in a small number of the largest cities. Data from 2001 indicated that in most jurisdictions, gangs were neither exclusively nor extensively involved in the drug trade despite popular perceptions that gang and drug problems were one and the same. During the first 6 years of the survey, from 1996 through 2001, results indicated that youth gang problems were declining in smaller cities, rural counties, and suburban counties. Data from 2002 indicate that the overall number of jurisdictions experiencing gang problems might be stabilizing. National trends have been observed in which younger gang members are more prevalent in the smaller populated jurisdictions, female gang members are more prevalent in the new gang-problem areas, and African-American and Hispanic/Latino youth make up a disproportionate share of all gang members relative to their numbers in the population. Data pertaining to law enforcement agencies and jurisdictional characteristics were drawn from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Census Bureau. Data from the 1996 through 2001 National Youth Gang Survey included a nationally representative sample of 3,018 police and sheriff’s departments while the 2002 survey included a newly selected sample of 2,563 police and sheriff’s departments. Figures, tables, notes, references, appendix
Date Published: July 1, 2006