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National Youth Gang Survey, 1996

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 1999
96 pages
A national survey sought information from almost 5,000 police agencies regarding youth gangs in their jurisdictions in 1996 and received responses from more than 80 percent of the survey recipients.
The survey collected information about the number of gangs and gang members, gang member demographics, gang drug distribution, gang migration, and the level of crime in which gang members were involved. The survey was distributed to a statistically representative sample of 3,024 police agencies and a sample of 1,956 police agencies that had been surveyed in the 1995 National Youth Gang Survey, but were not selected for the 1996 representative sample. The statistically representative sample consisted of all large cities with populations greater than 25,000, a random sample of small cities with populations between 2,500 and 25,000, all suburban counties, and a random sample of rural counties. An estimated 4,824 jurisdictions nationally had a total of 30,818 active youth gangs with 846,428 members in 1996. Seventy-four percent of large cities, 57 percent of suburban counties, 34 percent of small cities, and 25 percent of rural counties reported gang activity. Eighty-four percent of the agencies indicated that they had experienced some migration of gang members into their jurisdictions. White people were more involved in gang activity than reported in earlier studies, particularly in rural counties and small cities. Survey participants also estimated that 43 percent of the drug sales in their jurisdictions involved gang members. Findings indicated that the youth gang problem is substantial and affects communities of all sizes. Figures; tables; reference notes; appended survey instrument, background information, and additional results; and 35 references

Date Published: July 1, 1999