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National Gang Threat Assessment, 2000

NCJ Number
217200
Date Published
February 2000
Length
71 pages
Annotation
This report provides a comprehensive assessment of the local and national level threat posed by gangs during 2000.
Abstract
Among the most notable gang trends identified by the assessment include the observation that gangs are increasingly migrating from larger cities to smaller communities due in part to a greater involvement in drug trafficking by gangs. These smaller communities are witnessing an increase in violence due to the migration of gangs, even as the overall violent crime rate has decreased nationwide. While most gangs have members who are involved in drug trafficking, the extent of drug trafficking by gang members varies by region. Some gangs involved in drug distribution have connections to major international drug trafficking organizations. Gang-related violence and drug trafficking are also migrating to Indian Reservations and are infiltrating schools, businesses, the military, prisons, and law enforcement agencies across the country. While gangs are generally loosely organized with little hierarchical organization, they have managed to thwart prosecution through witness intimidation. Young women are taking increasingly active roles in gangs and gang-involved females are being incarcerated in record numbers. Regional trends are presented for gang migration, involvement in drug trafficking, and gang organization. In the Northeast, Asian gang migration is rising while in the South, prison gangs are exerting increasing influence on gangs in communities. In the Midwest, the growth of Hispanic gangs is linked to the expansion of methamphetamine sales while in the West, Hispanic gangs have divided into two factions, effectively escalating violence in the region. Various anti-gang initiatives are examined that focus on gang suppression, intervention, and prevention. Recommendations for dealing with the gang problem are offered and include the advice to: (1) develop educational campaigns; (2) develop standardized definitions of a gang, gang member, and gang crime; (3) develop uniform crime reporting on gangs; (4) develop effective law enforcement intelligence sharing mechanisms; and (5) offer effective gang training to law enforcement officers. Tables, figures, notes