Success in the Media

Prevalence of Gang Problems in the US–US Dept. of Justice

National Youth Gang Survey Analysis

Prevalence of Gang Problems in Study Population

Editor’s note–this  is part of a larger document. Please see link below.

Respondents provided information regarding the presence or absence of active gangs in their jurisdictions.

  • Following a marked decline from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, a steady resurgence of gang problems has occurred in recent years.
  • Approximately one-third of the agencies in the study population experienced gang problems in recent years.
  • Overall, an estimated 3,550 jurisdictions in the study population experienced gang problems in 2007.
  • The 2007 estimate represents a statistically significant increase over the lowest point recorded in 2001.

Prevalence of Gang Problems by Area Type

The presence of active gangs is displayed by area type.

  • During the 12-year study period, the trends in prevalence rates of gang problems are remarkably similar across area types, albeit at different levels.
  • Within each area type, the percentage of agencies reporting gang problems in 2007 is as follows: 86 percent larger cities; 50 percent suburban counties; 35 percent smaller cities; and 15 percent rural counties.
  • Gang problems are most widespread in the largest cities in the United States; specifically, 99 percent of law enforcement agencies serving cities with populations of 100,000 or more have reported multiple years of gang problems.

Percent Change in Estimated Number of Gang-Problem Jurisdictions

The percent change in estimated number of gang problem jurisdictions between 2002 and 2007 is presented by area type.

  • Overall, the number of gang problem jurisdictions in the study population increased 25 percent between 2002 and 2007.
  • Within each area type, the percent change in gang problem jurisdictions from 2002 to 2007 is as follows: +12 percent larger cities; +33 percent suburban counties; +27 percent smaller cities; and +24 percent rural counties.

Percentage of Law Enforcement Agencies Reporting Gang Problems

The percentage of agencies that reported gang problems in 2007 and in one or more years between 2002 and 2007 is displayed by area type.

  • A larger discrepancy between these two figures indicates greater instability and a fluctuating pattern of gang problems across jurisdictions over time. Conversely, greater similarity between these figures indicates that roughly the same group of agencies are reporting gang problems across survey years.
  • Within rural counties, while 31 percent reported gang problems at any time between 2002 and 2007, less than half (15 percent) did so in 2007 alone.
  • A similar-sized difference (approximately 15 percent) between the two figures is observed for suburban counties and smaller cities as well.
  • For larger cities, the discrepancy between the figures is much smaller, with 86 percent reporting gang problems in 2007 alone and a slightly larger percent (92 percent) reporting gang problems in any year between 2002 and 2007.
  • Overall, these results demonstrate that the presence of gang problems outside larger cities is less stably observed and reported over time.
Percentage of Law Enforcement Agencies
Reporting Gang Problems, 2002–2007
  Gang Problems Reported in 2007 Gang Problems Ever Reported, 2002–2007
Larger Cities 85.7% 91.8%
Suburban Counties 50.3 65.9
Smaller Cities 34.8 52.5
Rural Counties 15.3 31.2

 

Suggested citation: National Youth Gang Center (2009). National Youth Gang Survey Analysis. Retrieved [date] from http://www.iir.com/nygc/nygsa/

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