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Gang Violence Prevention


OJJDP Support

To address youth gangs, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) supports a range of programs and activities designed to prevent and suppress gang violence and recruitment.

In fiscal year (FY) 2019, OJJDP awarded $7.4 million to support communities as they work to deter and suppress gang activity and provide services and treatment to victims of gang-related violence and crime. OJJDP provided direct funding to support the coordination of gang suppression efforts and activities by prosecutorial and law enforcement agencies; to reduce gang activity by focusing on strategies to disrupt recruitment and incentivize desistance by supporting programs that offer alternative support mechanisms for youth; and to support the efforts of communities to promote justice and healing for youth victims and their families as well as witnesses that have been affected by gang violence in their community. 

Through its Youth Gang Desistance/Diversion program, the Office provided $2 million to communities to support desistance and diversion activities as well as targeted services such as life skills training, substance abuse counseling, mentoring, and street outreach for gang members who want to desist from gang activity. Through OJJDP's Comprehensive Gang Model, communities can implement a comprehensive approach to gang crime and youth violence reduction. 

OJJDP awarded nearly $1.4 million under the Youth Gang Suppression Implementation program to help jurisdictions establish a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach to suppressing youth gangs. Focused deterrence, and suppression strategies, coupled with the key components of OJJDP's Comprehensive Gang Model, offer a holistic approach to support the efforts of law enforcement in combatting gang crime and promote public safety in communities. 

The Office's Supporting Victims of Gang Violence program promotes justice and healing for young victims and witnesses of gang violence. Awards totaling nearly $3.2 million are helping organizations work closely with the criminal justice system to provide comprehensive victim assistance services to ensure that youth (and their families) impacted by gang violence are not further traumatized and have adequate supports to feel safe in their community. 

FY19 Funding Awards:

  • Youth Gangs and Violence: $14,495,847
  • Comprehensive School-Based Approach to Youth Violence and Victimization: $7,107,594
  • Supporting Victims of Gang Violence Program: $3,177,722
  • Youth Gang Desistance/Diversion Program: $2,000,000
  • Youth Gang Suppression Implementation Program: $1,380,000
  • National Gang Center: $830,531 

National Gang Center

The National Gang Center (NGC), OJJDP's training and technical assistance provider, provides tools and resources to help federal, state, local, and Tribal justice systems create comprehensive solutions to prevent gang violence, reduce gang involvement, and suppress gang‐related crime. In FY 2019, the Office provided more than $830,000 in funding to continue the center's work. The NGC disseminates information, knowledge, and outcome-driven practices that engage and empower those in local communities with chronic and emerging gang problems to create comprehensive solutions to prevent gang violence, reduce gang involvement, and suppress gang‐related crime.

Comprehensive Gang Model

OJJDP's Comprehensive Gang Model provides a framework for coordinated action between law enforcement and citizens to improve a community's capacity to prevent youth from joining gangs and reduce street gang crime and violence. Built on more than 20 years of testing and implementation, the model combines prevention, intervention, and suppression tactics to tackle the root causes of gang violence and establishes an organized plan of action.

The model takes a comprehensive approach to reduce and prevent youth gang violence using five core strategies: Community Mobilization, Opportunities Provision, Social Intervention, Suppression and Organizational Change and Development. Learn how communities are implementing the Comprehensive Gang Model to make their communities safer. 

Law enforcement play a critical role in addressing gang problems. A Law Enforcement Official's Guide to the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model is designed to help law enforcement with planning and implementation of the model.

Strategic Planning Tool

OJJDP's Strategic Planning Tool (SPT) is another tool that helps communities assess their gang problem and provides planning strategies to address issues such as gang involvement and violence.

The SPT consists of interrelated components to provide users with a broad array of knowledge about gang behavior, strategies, best practices and research-based programs, as well as access to resource information for local action.

Gangs in Schools 

Because schools are an important part of community efforts to combat gang activity, OJJDP and NGC released Gangs in Schools, which discusses how to create a safety plan to prevent and disrupt gangs in schools. The guide recommends that law enforcement, school administrators and staff, and other key sectors of the community work together to develop a comprehensive plan that identifies effective, evidence-based strategies to address gang issues in the school environment.  

On June 30, 2020, OJJDP and NGC presented the webinar Protecting Youth from Gangs on Social Media. Participants learned how gangs use social media to recruit and carry out illegal activity. 

In August 2019, OJJDP and NGC presented Responding to Gangs in Schools: Creating a Collaborative Process between Schools and Law Enforcement. The webinar discussed the importance of responding to gangs in a school setting, the specific roles of law enforcement and school administrators in developing partnerships to ensure school safety, and strategies to foster and sustain these partnerships. 

In September 2019, OJJDP and the NGC held a webinar, Recognizing Gang Activity in Schools, on responding to gangs in schools. Leveraging information from the Gangs in Schools Bulletin, the webinar provided an overview of common gang identifiers and emphasized the importance of information sharing between school personnel and local law enforcement. 

The NGC video, Why Youth Join Gangs, features former gang members, researchers and practitioners and presents research on the behaviors and circumstances facing youth who are at risk for joining a gang. 

OJJDP Publications

Additional Resources

Stay Connected 

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Access more gang-related resources on OJJDP's website by searching by the keyword "gang". Get updates on OJJDP's anti-gang and other efforts, by subscribing to OJJDP's monthly electronic newsletter OJJDP News @ a Glance and JUVJUST Listserv.

Date Created: September 13, 2019