U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Hybrid and Other Modern Gangs

NCJ Number
Date Published
December 2001
8 pages
Publication Series
This bulletin describes the nature of modern youth gangs, particularly hybrid gangs.
Hybrid gang culture is characterized by mixed racial and ethnic participation within a single gang, participation in multiple gangs by a single individual, vague rules and codes of conduct or gang members, the use of symbols and colors from multiple gangs, collaboration by rival gangs in criminal activities, and the merger of smaller gangs into larger ones. Thus, hybrid gang customs are clearly distinguished from the practices of their predecessors. Survey data, research findings, and field reports are used in this bulletin to detail these critical differences, as it reviews such issues as gang stereotypes and gang migration. An effective strategy for countering hybrid gangs must involve an accurate assessment of the local gang problem, an examination of community resources, and a realistic appraisal of how to gauge the impact of the response. As many agencies as possible, particularly local government and police administration, must be included early in the process of developing a strategy for gang prevention and intervention. The more resources and partners that are involved, especially those with authority to respond directly to gangs, the greater a community's chances for success in dealing with gangs. A general framework for addressing the youth gang problem involves five interrelated strategies: community mobilization; social intervention, including prevention and street outreach; provision of opportunities; suppression/social control; and organizational change and development. 44 references

Date Published: December 1, 2001