From the Administrator

Despite recent declines in juvenile crime, our Nation continues to face a youth gang problem. As part of our response to public concern about this problem, OJJDP has initiated the Youth Gang Series to explore key issues related to youth gangs. These issues include gang migration, female involvement with gangs, and the growth of gang activity related to homicide, drugs, and overall delinquency.

Youth Gangs: An Overview, the initial Bulletin in this series, brings together available knowledge on youth gangs by reviewing data and research. The author begins with a look at the history of youth gangs and their demographic characteristics. He then assesses the scope of the youth gang problem, including gang problems in juvenile detention and correctional facilities. A review of gang studies provides a clearer understanding of several issues. An extensive list of references is also included for further review.

The Bulletin makes a clear statement that a successful gang intervention and suppression strategy must build on services already in place in our communities to develop a comprehensive approach that will enhance the capacity of the juvenile justice system. The information provided here and in subsequent titles of this series will serve as a good starting point toward that end.

Shay Bilchik

Youth Gangs: An Overview Juvenile Justice Bulletin   ·  August 1998