FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEBJA
MONDAY, JULY 6, 1998202/307-0703

BJA MONOGRAPH WILL HELP COMMUNITIES ADDRESS GANG PROBLEMS

WASHINGTON, D.C.--A new publication released by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) provides local community leaders and criminal justice officials a practical guide to address gangs and gang-related crime. Addressing Community Gang Problems: A Practical Guide provides a blueprint to identifying, analyzing, and responding to gang-related problems and assessing those approaches.

"As the document indicates, gangs have spread from urban areas to suburban areas and small towns and gang-related crime and drug trafficking is becoming more widespread," said BJA Director Nancy Gist. "However, we must remember that all gang problems are local in nature and this guide is designed to help local officials create strategies that address the unique gang problems their community faces."

The monograph discusses the spread of gangs from urban areas to suburban areas and small towns. Extensive gang research led the authors to the conclusion that all gang problems are local in nature and the guide is designed to help local officials create strategies that address the unique gang problems their community faces.

The guide includes chapters on the following subjects:

Defining the Community Youth Gang - While there is no agreed upon standard definition of a gang, all gangs possess some common elements. These elements and other information help communities define the gangs in their communities.

Gang Graffiti - Over the past 10 to 15 years, the public has become more concerned about gang graffiti for three reasons: the invention of spray paint, which makes graffiti easier and faster to create; the appearance of graffiti on buses and subway cars; and the association citizens make between gangs and graffiti. The chapter discusses the different types of graffiti and how to distinguish between them.

Gang Involvement in Drugs and Violence - There is a definite link to gangs and drugs and violence. This chapter discusses the misconception many community members have about gangs because of the media's portrayals of them. For instance, gangs are not exclusively a minority phenomenon, but the media portrayal of gangs has led many individuals to believe otherwise.

The final four chapters help communities conduct a needs assessment, engage in strategic planning and evaluate their efforts.

The monograph also has detailed examples of the graffiti used by different types of gangs and describes successful efforts to address gang problems.

Additional information about BJA and its programs is at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bja. Information about OJP and its programs can be found at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.

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BJA 98-149

For additional information, contact Doug Johnson at 202/616-3559