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NCJ Number
Police Chief Dated: (November 1990) Pages: 20-22
D F Gates; R K Jackson
Date Published
3 pages
There are currently more than 450 street gangs, with over 36,000 members, operating in Los Angeles.
As a result, gang violence has grown into one of the most complex problems facing law enforcement today. Gang members in the city are involved in crimes ranging from theft to burglary, vandalism, and violent crime. In 1989, there were 1,113 drive-by shooting incidents, accounting for 1,675 victims. The Los Angeles Police Department estimates that up to half of gang victims are not even remotely associated with any form of gang activity. Hispanic gangs are typically centered around long-standing rivalries, while black gangs most often form around a common criminal activity designed to accumulate money and power. Gang attacks are characterized by unprecedented levels of violence because gang members are better armed than ever before, often with semi- and fully automatic assault rifles. In an effort to enhance their reputation, gang members are often willing to attack law enforcement officers. The street gang problem in Los Angeles has been exacerbated by the influx of illegal narcotics. The LAPD and the community at large have instituted several antigang programs including Community Resources Against Hoodlums (CRASH), Gang-Related Active Trafficker Suppression (GRATS), and the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program for schoolchildren.