U.S. flag

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

National Gang Threat Assessment 2011 - Emerging Trends

NCJ Number
Date Published
104 pages
Emerging Trends among gangs in the United States are identified in this 2011 threat assessment.
The most notable trends for 2011 have been the overall increase in gang membership and the expansion of criminal street gangs' control of street-level drug sales and collaboration with rival gangs and other criminal organizations. The study concludes that gangs are expanding, evolving, and posing an increasing threat to communities nationwide. Many gangs are sophisticated criminal networks with members who are violent, distribute wholesale quantities of drugs, and develop and maintain close working relationships with members and associates of transnational criminal/drug trafficking organizations. Gangs are becoming more violent and are engaging in less typical and lower risk crime, such as prostitution and white-collar crime. Based on State, local, and Federal law enforcement reports, this threat assessment concludes that there are approximately 1.4 million active members in just over 33,000 street, prison, and outlaw motorcycle gangs in the United States. Gang membership increased most significantly in the Northeast and Southeast regions, although the West and Great Lakes regions have the highest number of gang members. Gangs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions and up to 90 percent in several others. Major cities and suburban areas experience the most gang-related violence. Local neighborhood gangs and drug crews continue to pose the most significant criminal threat in most communities. Gang expansion has been fueled by the aggressive recruitment of juveniles and immigrants, alliances and conflict between gangs, the release of incarcerated gang members, advancements in technology and communication, and Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization (MDTO) involvement in drug distribution. Gangs are increasingly involved in non-traditional gang-related crime, such as alien smuggling, human trafficking, and prostitution. Their white-collar crimes include counterfeiting, identity theft, and mortgage fraud. 56 notes, 18 figures, 3 tables, maps, and appended names of gangs by State, MDTOs alliances and rivals, and Federal Gang Task Forces