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Promises Kept? A Meta-Analysis of Gang Membership Prevention Programs

NCJ Number
Jennifer S. Wong; Jason Gravel; Martin Bouchard; Karine Descormiers; Carlo Morselli
Date Published
14 pages

The authors report on a review of literature aimed at analyzing the impacts of gang prevention programs on gang membership rates.


The purpose of this paper is to synthesize the effects of gang prevention programs on gang membership. The authors conducted a systematic literature review across 19 bibliographic databases and a meta-analysis of the effectiveness of these strategies. The database search resulted in 3,850 hits. Of the 162 studies that were screened in full, six involved a prevention program with outcomes commensurate for meta-analysis. Pooled log odds ratios indicate a significant, positive effect of gang prevention programs at reducing gang membership; however, sensitivity analysis demonstrates that the results are driven by the effects of a single study. Despite the small sample size, the current study presents the best available evidence regarding the effectiveness of gang membership prevention programs. There is a critical need in the field of gang control for rigorous evaluation of prevention strategies.