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Assessment of Hispanic/Latino Gangs in North Carolina: Findings from a General Law Enforcement Survey

NCJ Number
Journal of Gang Research Volume: 13 Issue: 4 Dated: Summer 2006 Pages: 1-14
Alison Rhyne; Douglas L. Yearwood
Date Published
14 pages
This article presents law enforcement survey findings on the prevalence and nature of the Hispanic/Latino Gang problem in North Carolina.
Results indicated that 29.4 percent of the respondents reported the presence of Hispanic/Latino gangs and gang activity within their jurisdiction and almost half of these respondents reported that the Hispanic/Latino gang problem posed a significant problem. The remaining respondents reported a gang presence but did not consider the gang problem to pose a significant threat to their communities. Four recommendations are offered by the authors: (1) relieve the cultural divide by increasing law enforcement and human services involvement in Hispanic community events; (2) implement training programs for the Hispanic community that raise gang awareness; (3) train officers on Hispanic/Latino culture; and (4) develop and implement a community-focused law enforcement pilot program aimed at Hispanic/Latino gangs. The majority of gang members were reported as non-indigenous to the local community. Respondents indicated that about 80 percent of the disputes involving Hispanic/Latino gangs were directed at other Hispanic/Latino gangs rather than African-American, Asian, or White gangs. Forty-six percent of respondents reported that less than 5 percent of youth in their jurisdictions were involved in gang-related activities. Another 18 percent of respondents, however, reported that 51 to 75 percent of the Hispanic/Latino youth in their jurisdictions were actively involved in gangs. Females were involved in gang activities in 73 percent of the responding jurisdictions. Less than 10 percent of the responding law enforcement agencies reported having a specific program or initiative focused on the problem of Hispanic/Latino gangs and more than half felt unprepared for addressing the emerging problem. The 22-item survey was mailed to 202 municipal police departments across North Carolina representing a range of size and type of jurisdiction. Statistical data analysis was conducted on the 164 completed surveys. Tables, figure, references


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