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Highlights of the 2001 National Youth Gang Survey

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2003
2 pages
Publication Series
This document presents the findings of a national survey on youth gangs in 2001.
The survey was conducted in police departments serving cities, suburbs, and rural counties. Motorcycle gangs, hate or ideology groups, prison gangs, and exclusively adult gangs were excluded from the survey. Of the 3,018 survey recipients, 85 percent responded to the survey. In cities with a population of 25,000 or more, results show that 42 percent reported an increase in the number of gang members, and 45 percent reported an increase in the number of gangs from the previous two survey years. The largest gang-problem cities (those with a population of 100,000 or more) have consistently reported greater numbers of gang members over the years the survey has been conducted. Fifty-six percent of these cities reported either an increase or no significant change in the number of gang members in 2001. A significant number of gang-problem cities reported gang-related homicides, including 69 percent of those with a population of 100,000 or more and 37 percent of those with a population between 50,000 and 99,999. More than half of all homicides in Los Angeles and Chicago were reported to be gang related. Sixty-three percent of gang-problem jurisdictions reported the return of gang members from confinement to their jurisdiction. Sixty-nine percent of these jurisdictions reported that gang members returning from confinement considerably affected their jurisdictions’ gang problem. A large proportion of these jurisdictions reported that returning members noticeably contributed to an increase in violent crime and drug trafficking by local gangs. The majority of all gang-problem jurisdictions reported maintaining intelligence records on gang members, with 72 percent of these agencies reported computerized record storage. Among the strategies currently used to combat the youth gang problem, 62 percent reported a curfew ordinance, 20 percent used a firearm suppression initiative, 12 percent used abatement ordinances, and 6 percent used civil injunctions. Nearly 32 percent of gang-problem jurisdictions, located predominantly in less populated areas, did not report using any of these strategies.

Date Published: March 1, 2003