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U.S. Gang Problem Trends and Seriousness, 1996-2009

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2011
23 pages
This report presents new information on the long-term trend in street gang activity and violent crime in the United States.
This document provides professionals in the field of gangs with tools that can be used in a comprehensive range of strategies to respond to street gangs, from prevention and intervention to criminal justice strategies such as suppression, prosecution, and reentry. Analyses provided in this report find overwhelming evidence that gang violence rates have continued at exceptional levels over the past decade despite the remarkable overall crime drop. This study suggest that while fluctuations in the prevalence of gang activity are certainly evident since the mid-1990s to the present, much of this instability has occurred outside the largest U.S. cities where gang activity has remained concentrated and prevalence rates have remained nearly constant. In addition the seriousness of gang problems in these cities has not changed appreciably in this period. Two distinct groups of very large cities (with populations greater than 100,000 persons), together making up 70 percent of all large cities, consistently reported that between 20 and 40 percent of their homicides were gang-related from 1996 to 2009; and only one group, composed of less than one-quarter of the cities, exhibited very few to no gang homicides in the study period. Moreover, reported gang-related homicides in these cities increased 7 percent from 2005 to 2009. Figures, charts, maps, notes, references, and appendixes

Date Published: May 1, 2011