This report presents highlights of the 2002-2003 National Youth Gang Surveys, which solicited information from police departments on gangs in their jurisdictions.
Respondents were asked to report information only for youth gangs, defined as "a group of youths or young adults in your jurisdiction that you or other responsible persons in your agency or community are willing to identify as a 'gang.'" Motorcycle gangs, hate or ideology groups, prison gangs, and exclusively adult gangs were excluded from the survey. Of the 2,405 law enforcement agencies that received questionnaires, 95 percent responded to the 2002 and/or 2003 survey (1,524 responded in both survey years; the remaining 5 percent did not respond in either survey year). Approximately 6 out of 10 departments serving cities with a population of 50,000 or more reported more than 30 gangs in their jurisdiction, and an equal percentage reported more than 1,000 gang members. A majority of agencies serving rural counties and cities with the smallest population groupings reported 3 or fewer gangs and 50 or fewer gang members. Agencies in suburban counties reported substantial variation in these numbers. More than one-third of the agencies serving cities in the largest population group reported an annual maximum of 10 or more gang-related homicides. 2 tables
Date Published: June 1, 2005