A national survey gathered information from criminal justice and community agency personnel in 45 cities and 6 correctional schools and other institutions regarding the response of the criminal justice system and community agencies to the problem of youth gangs.
The survey received 254 responses. Results demonstrated that gang problems and programs seem to be concentrated in certain States and cities, mainly California and the Los Angeles area and Illinois including the city of Chicago. Gang activity was not closely correlated with a city's size. A majority of respondents believed that selling illicit drugs at the street level is a major purpose of youth gangs and that some gang members transport drugs across jurisdictions. Responses generally emphasize law enforcement. Agency responses are largely reactive. Intervention strategies include community organization, social intervention, the provision of alternative opportunities, suppression, and organizational development and change. Most respondents believe that the gang situation has become worse in recent years. Discriminant analysis showed community organization to be an effective strategy in cities with emerging gang problems, while provision of opportunities is effective in cities with chronic gang problems. Tables, survey instrument, and appended additional results
Date Published: May 1, 1990
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